Mexico border residents clash with migrants in Tijuana
Members of the Central American migrant caravan continued to pour into Tijuana on Friday, with about 2,000 arriving overnight — and another 1,200 on their way, according to officials.
Authorities in the Mexican border city had to open up a gymnasium and gated sport complex for the migrants, since all of their shelters were reportedly full.
Hundreds had already arrived on Wednesday and Thursday, sparking public clashes between Tijuana residents and the Central Americans. At least three people were injured, all of whom were journalists.
While the migrants are now within walking distance of the US border, they will likely wait months before any claims for asylum are officially processed.
Federal inspectors at the main crossing point in San Diego have only been averaging about 100 claims a day as of late. Because of this, many of the migrants have been asked to stay in Mexico and work for the time being.
“Today in Baja California there is an employment opportunity for those who request it,” said Francisco Rueda, top deputy to Baja California state Gov. Francisco Vega de la Madrid. “But in order for this to happen, it has to regulate migrant status.”
According to Rueda, there are roughly 7,000 jobs available for the state’s “Central American migrant brothers.”
“This is not a crisis,” he said. “This is an extraordinary situation.”
Immigration officials believe the number of migrants coming to Tijuana could reach 10,000 by years end.
“It was the opportunity to get out,” explained Oscar Zapata, a 31-year-old caravan member traveled from Guadalajara with his wife and their three children — ages 4, 5 and 12.
The family arrived by bus in the dead of night Thursday, along with countless others.
Some were forced to wait more than 10 hours at a gas station in Navojoa — approximately 750 miles away from Tijuana — without food and water on account of the buses being late.
“We were dropped … in the middle of nowhere, where supposedly some buses were going to come pick us up,” recalled Alejandra Grisel Rodriguez, of Honduras. “But nothing.”
The caravan in Tijuana reportedly includes Hondurans, Guatemalans, Nicaraguans and Salvadorans. It is made up of families, lone travelers and dozens of transgender men and women fleeing persecution.
“The message to the migrant population is very clear,” wrote Francisco Rueda Gómez, secretary of government of Baja California, in a statement to the Palm Springs Desert Sun.
“We are providing them with humanitarian support, health care and food, however the need to take into consideration the rules of the shelters so they can coexist in harmony with the local population.”
The influx of migrants has been blasted by President Trump and other US officials as an “invasion” in recent weeks. Trump ordered up the deployment of military troops last month, saying “we’ll do up to anywhere between 10 and 15,000 military personnel, on top of Border Patrol, ICE and everybody else.”
“We’re going to be prepared,” the president said. “Nobody’s coming in.”
With Post Wires
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