Cold welcome at US-Mexico border for 2,000 caravan migrants

Tijuana: Mexican authorities said Friday more than 2,000 Central Americans from a migrant caravan heading toward the United States have now reached the border city of Tijuana, where they have received a sometimes cold welcome.

Waves of migrants from the main caravan — which numbers around 5,500 people in all — have been converging on the northern Mexican city since Sunday, undeterred by US President Donald Trump’s deployment of thousands of troops to the border.

But after traveling more than a month to get here, they have been met with protests by some residents, and xenophobic comments from Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum, who said the “horde” of migrants had arrived “with an aggressive, obscene plan.”

Gastelum, a member of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), called on the Mexican government to deport the migrants immediately.

“You’re going to tell me we have to respect human rights. But human rights are for law-abiding humans,” he said.

Late Wednesday, hundreds of Tijuana residents protested at a park where the migrants had set up camp along the fence between Mexico and the United States.

Shouting anti-immigrant slogans, protesters threw stones at the migrants, even targeting children in some cases, as police looked on.

The city has however set up a shelter for the migrants in a sports complex, where more than 2,000 of them spent Thursday night, according to Tijuana’s head of social development, Mario Osuna.

The Mexican interior ministry says there are currently around 8,000 migrants crossing the country in several caravans.

They are mostly fleeing poverty and unrest in Central America’s “Northern Triangle” — El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, where brutal gang violence has fueled some of the highest murder rates in the world.

The main caravan began its journey on October 13 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and walked or hitch-hiked much of the more than 4,300 kilometers (2,700 miles) to Tijuana.

The migrants face a long wait at the border if they want to seek asylum in the United States.

Under an executive order Trump issued last week, migrants who do not cross at official border posts will no longer be allowed to request asylum, and face automatic deportation.

Migrants who lined up Friday to make asylum requests were told to come back the next day.

[source_without_link] Agence France-Presse[/source_without_link]