The migrant caravan that is amassing at the San Diego border contains over 500 criminals, the Department of Homeland Security warned Monday. Contrary to reports by the media and immigrant activists, DHS officials said, the vast majority of the migrants are men, not women and children. The reports come amid growing tension between residents of Tijuana and the increasing number of migrants that officials say may be there for months.
DHS officials made the claims during a conference call with reporters Monday afternoon reported by Fox News, which notes that officials said "most" of the estimated 6,000 members of the caravan gathered at the border are young men. To garner public sympathy, DHS officials said, migrant activists have tried to push the women and children to the front for the cameras.
Among the 6,000 migrants are more than 500 known criminals, officials said. Mexican officials expect the number of migrants aggregating in Tijuana near the San Ysidro border crossing to exceed 10,000 soon, and that swelling number of asylum-seekers will require housing, which the government says it does not have the resources to provide.
U.S. officials say they are addressing the crisis with "all legal options," but have stressed that the migrants will not be permitted to cross the border until their asylum requests are fully processed, which Fox notes could take up to six months. To help deal with the massive number of migrants, the department temporarily shut down the crossing on Monday.
"Asylum seekers are registering their names in a tattered notebook managed by migrants themselves that had more than 3,000 names even before the first members of the leading caravan started arriving last week," Fox reports.
While most of the migrants are seeking asylum, some have already attempted to force their way in, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Monday. "Unfortunately, some members of the caravan are purposely causing disruptions at our border ports of entry," Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wrote Monday. "There is a legal and illegal way to enter the U.S. We have deployed additional forces to protect our border."
As The Daily Wire reported, pushback against the caravan has escalated in Tijuana, with hundreds of Tijuana residents gathering on Sunday to protest the unmanageable influx of migrants. Calling it an "invasion," Mexican protesters declared, "No more Caravans", and "Let's save Tijuana, no more caravans!" "Donald Trump was right, this is an invasion!" demonstrators chanted, The Daily Wire reported. "Get out Hondurans, we do not want you here."
Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum has also pushed back against the wave of migrants, who he has called "bums," suggesting a referendum on whether or not to allow them to stay might be appropriate.
For now, Fox notes, a majority of the migrants are sleeping on "a dirt baseball field at an outdoor sports complex in Tijuana by the newly-fortified barbed wire fence that separates Mexico from the United States."