Mexicans, now saddled with hosting around 3,000 migrants waiting to declare asylum at an official United States border crossing between Tijuana and San Diego, California, are losing patience with the “workers” and deporting those that make trouble back to their home countries.
The Associated Press reports that Tijuana officials have “arrested 34 caravan members for drug possession, public intoxication, disturbing the peace and resisting police, and they would be deported to their home countries,” for failing to follow Mexico’s laws.
Hundreds of Tijuana residents have also staged protests against the migrants, who have taken over a local soccer stadium to use as a temporary shelter.
The mayor of Tijuana is no stranger to massive migrant caravans, but this one, he says, is different. A Haitian caravan, which also arrived looking for political asylum in the United States and was turned away, consisted largely of refugees looking for work and more permanent homes. Those migrants came prepared with plans and paperwork, and when their asylum claims were rejected, accepted temporary work permits from Mexican officials and did their best to assimilate into Mexican society.
Tijuana’s mayor says the Honduran migrants aren’t as flexible and are determined to get into the United States even if they have to cross the border illegally. And while wait times to declare asylum can be long, many migrants who might have turned back were emboldened by a court ruling last week overturning a Trump administration directive denying most asylum requests.
“Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum has made a point of saying the city is not happy with the migrants who began arriving last week, and he compared the Central American group unfavorably with about 3,000 Haitians who ended up staying after their bid to reach the U.S. failed last year,” the AP reported.
“The Haitians arrived with their papers, with a clear vision,” Gastelum said in an interview, according to the AP. The Haitians rented apartments, made their own food, found jobs and “inserted themselves in the city’s economy,” rarely running afoul of Tijuana law enforcement.
Gastelum, the AP says, is appealing to the Mexican government for help absorbing the migrant caravan, at least temporarily.
The Tijuana faction is just the first wave of a massive “migrant caravan” consisting of nearly 7,000, snaking its way across Mexico. There are several more waves behind, but not all of them are planning on crossing at Tijuana/San Diego. A number are headed to the other end of the Rio Grande and will attempt to cross at official border crossings in Texas.
Mexico has repeatedly offered migrant caravan members work permits and temporary visas on the suspicion that many of the migrants’ asylum claims will be denied. Most of the migrants in the caravan have refused the Mexican government’s offers.
In response to the migrant caravan, the Trump administration has beefed up security along the United States’ southern border, installing miles upon miles of razor wire and stationing hundreds of active duty military personnel along the border to assist with administrative and infrastructure shortcomings.