DONAJI, Mexico — A third caravan of migrants – this time from El Salvador – waded over the Suchiate River into Mexico on Friday, bringing another 1,000 to 1,500 people who want to reach the U.S. border.

The third caravan tried to cross the bridge between Guatemala and Mexico, but Mexican authorities told those traveling in it they would have to show passports and visas and enter in groups of 50 for processing.

The Salvadorans expressed misgivings that they would be deported, so they turned around and waded across a shallow stretch of the river to enter Mexico.

Although police were present, they did not try to physically stop the migrants, who later walked along a highway toward the nearest large city, Tapachula.

Mexico is now faced with the unprecedented situation of having three caravans stretched out over 300 miles of highways in the southern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, with a total of about 6,000 migrants. The first, largest group of mainly Honduran migrants entered Mexico on Oct. 19 and is now in Donaji, Oaxaca.

Though the first caravan once numbered as many as 7,000, Mexico’s Interior Department estimated that, as of Friday, it numbered only 3,000 people.

The second caravan, also of about 1,000 to 1,500 people, entered Mexico earlier this week and is now in Mapastepec, Chiapas. The second group includes Hondurans, Salvadorans and some Guatemalans. In addition, the government identified a fourth, smaller group of 300 Central American migrants walking further ahead, in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz.

Honduran migrant Saul Guzman, 48, spent the night under a tin roof in the Oaxaca state town of Matias Romero with his son Dannys, 12, before setting out for the town of Donaji, 30 miles north.

“I have been through a lot,” said Guzman. “I want to spend my time differently, not in poverty.”

In his hometown of Ocotepeque, Honduras, he left behind a coffin, either for his mother, who suffers dementia, “or for me, if I don’t make it,” Guzman said.

The migrants had already made a grueling 40-mile trek from Juchitan, Oaxaca, on Thursday, after they failed to get the bus transportation they had hoped for. But hitching rides allowed them to get to Donaji early, and some headed to a town even further north, Sayula.

The migrants have not said what route they intend to take, but any trek through the Gulf coast state of Veracruz could take them toward the Texas border. Another large caravan early this year passed through Veracruz but then veered back toward Mexico City and eventually tried to head to Tijuana in the far northwest.

Few made it.

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