Caravans receive rough welcomes at towns like Piedras Negras where locals are suspicious and officials struggle to house 1,700 newcomers

Rows of federal police in riot gear faced the former factory in the Mexican borderlands, as soldiers watched on from the gun turrets on a pair of Humvees.

But the armed men weren’t preparing for an operation in the country’s bloody drug wars: they were guarding a group of 1,700 Central American migrants who were hoping to reach the US.

Related: ‘No way to live here’: new Honduran caravan sets off north as Trump blasts warnings

Related: Fleeing home alone: the migrant children blocked at Mexican border

Related: Migrants flee violence only to find more in Tijuana – Mexico’s murder capital

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