Migrant caravan, rejecting Mexican offers, continues drive north

More than a hundred Mexican federal officers carrying plastic shields abandoned a blockade they had formed on a bridge Saturday, allowing a caravan of thousands of Central American migrants to advance toward the United States.

The officers ended the standoff after representatives from Mexico's National Human Rights Commission told police that a rural stretch of highway without shade, toilets or water was no place for migrants to entertain offers of asylum in Mexico. Police boarded buses and headed further down the highway, while migrants cheered and vowed to trek all the way to the U.S. border.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto launched a program on Friday dubbed "You are home," which promises shelter, medical attention, schooling and jobs to Central Americans who agree to stay in the southern Mexico states of Chiapas or Oaxaca.

Police commissioner Benjamin Grajeda said that authorities only blocked the highway Saturday to tell people about the government's offer. "Here in this truck right now you can get help," he said.

Thousands of migrants in the city of Arriaga rejected the plan Friday night, but said they could be willing to discuss it again once they reach Mexico City. Some fear they will be deported if they take advantage of the program.

The caravan is now trying to strike out for Tapanatepec, about 29 miles (46 kilometers) up the road.