Members of the “migrant caravan” currently camped out in Tijuana, Mexico, just across the border from San Diego, California, told MSNBC late Tuesday that they were told making entrance into the United States would be much easier and that they’re ready to make the long journey back home.
The MSNBC reporter on scene claims that after speaking with migrants biding their time in shelters near the border, that many of the would-be asylum seekers were told that crossing the border would be a relatively painless process, and that most of them would be eligible for available work programs designed to help them integrate into American culture and society.
That didn’t turn out to be the case; it appears many of the members of the “migrant caravan” were sold a bill of goods, and are just coming to realize that crossing the border will be much more difficult than they imagined, particularly in light of the weekend’s violence.
The problem has become so pronounced — and demand to return to Honduras has gotten so high — that the government of Mexico is setting up tents in migrant camps along the border, helping those who might want to return to obtain safe passage back to Honduras and Guatemala, where the caravan originated.
The Mexican government is also keeping offers of temporary amnesty and temporary work visas open for those who are disillusioned with the caravan’s goals but feel they cannot return to war- and drug-ravaged Central America.
According to Fox News, “the total number of migrants in Tijuana alone break down this way: 6,062 total, comprising of 3,877 men, 1,127 women and 1,058 children.”
Tijuana wants the situation resolved as quickly as possible: either asylum seekers approach the border peacefully and declare their intentions, or they accept one of Mexico’s offers. Authorities in Tijuana say the migrant caravan is costing their city government more than $35,000 per day, and that they may have to raise taxes on Tijuana citizens if the migrant caravan doesn’t move on.
So far, around 198 migrants have “self-deported,” and the number grows every day.
Although the migrants are hopeful, it doesn’t appear the Trump administration is interested in allowing even peaceful asylum seekers to cross the border, charging that the sheer number of migrants awaiting processing is too much for Customs and Border Patrol to handle, and the Trump administration cannot allow migrants to remain in the country pending an asylum hearing if they can’t be properly processed.
But the migrants don’t just blame Trump, they also blame their fellow migrants for egging on Border Patrol agents and throwing rocks at law enforcement officers during what was supposed to be a “peaceful” march to the border to demand attention. The more violent the confrontations, some feel, the less likely the U.S. government will look kindly on their plight.
Whatever the U.S. and Mexico plan to do, it must be done quickly. A second caravan of two-to-three thousand more migrants is headed to the southern border and is likely to reach Tijuana soon.