Waves Of Caravan Migrants Arrive In Tijuana, Begin Climbing San Diego Border Fence
As the first waves of Central American migrants arrive in Tijuana, dozens of people on the Mexican side of the border could be seen scaling the border fence – which oddly has a wide platform at the top, and none of the razor wire recently deployed further inland.
Border Patrol released a statement Tuesday that said they believe some of those at the fence are members who were traveling as part of the Central American migrant caravan that originated in Honduras.
Migrants who reached the border fence in that area are from Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. Many are walking and will still need more time to reach the border, and those who have arrived already appeared to do so with the help of buses or other transportation. –Washington Examiner
Jim Acosta — ‘they are only migrants….hundreds of miles away’
On Monday, the first wave of migrants arrived in Tijuana; approximately 80 gay, lesbian and transgender asylum seekers who were bussed ahead by an anonymous organization after they say intolerant fellow asylum seekers were harassing them.
“We were discriminated against, even in the caravan,” said Erick Dubon, 23, from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, who has been traveling with his boyfriend, Pedro Nehemias, 22. “People wouldn’t let us into trucks, they made us get in the back of the line for showers, they would call us ugly names.” –WaPo
Meanwhile, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that work began on Tuesday to “harden” the border crossing between Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, using razor wire and other measures. Just not at the beach, apparently.
As we reported on Tuesday, CBP closed four lanes at the heavily trafficked San Ysidro and Otay Mesa ports of entry in San Diego in order “to install and pre-position port hardening infrastructure equipment in preparation for the migrant caravan and the potential safety and security risk that it could cause,” according to CBS News and PBS.
On Thursday, 1,100 Marines from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California were deployed to support border security, CBS San Diego affiliate KFMB reported. They were primarily tasked with installing concertina wire and pre-positioning jersey barriers, barricades and fencing.
The thousands of Central American migrants left shelters in Guadalajara early Tuesday and were taken by bus to a highway tollbooth to wait for rides to their next destination.
Most appeared intent on taking the Pacific coast route northward to the border city of Tijuana, which was still about 1,350 miles away. The migrants have come about 1,500 miles since they started out in Honduras around October 13.
While the caravan previously averaged only about 30 miles a day, the migrants are now covering daily distances of 185 miles or more, partly because they are relying on hitchhiking rather than walking.
Migrants in a caravan of Central Americans arrived in Tijuana by the hundreds Wednesday, getting their first glimpse of the robust U.S. military presence that awaits them after President Donald Trump ordered thousands of troops to the border.
Several hundred people from the caravan got off buses and made their way to a shelter on the Mexican side near the border to line up for food.
Doctors checked those fighting colds and other ailments while several dozen migrants, mostly single men, spent the night at a Tijuana beach that is cut by a towering border wall of metal bars. Several Border Patrol agents in San Diego watched them through the barrier separating the U.S. and Mexico.
The first wave of migrants in the caravan, which became a central theme of the recent U.S. election, began arriving in Tijuana in recent days, and their numbers have grown each day. The bulk of the main caravan appeared to be about 1,800 kilometres from the border, but has recently been moving hundreds of miles a day by hitching rides on trucks and buses.
Many of the new arrivals were waiting in Tijuana for the caravan leaders to arrive and provide guidance on their immigration options to the U.S., including seeking asylum. Some said they might cross illegally.
WATCH: Violence erupts as migrants arrive in Tijuana
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, meanwhile, visited U.S. troops posted at the border in Texas and said the deployment provides good training for war, despite criticism that the effort is a waste of taxpayer money and a political stunt. Most of the troops are in Texas, more than 1,500 miles from where the caravan is arriving.
The first arrivals generally received a warm welcome from Tijuana, despite the fact that its shelter system to house migrants is at capacity. The city’s secretary of economic development has said there are about 3,000 jobs for migrants who want to stay in the city. Some residents came down to where the men were camped on a beach and gave them tacos to eat Wednesday.
The Central Americans in the caravan are the latest migrants to arrive in Tijuana with the hope of crossing into the United States. Tijuana shelters in 2016 housed Haitians who came by the thousands after making their way from Brazil with plans to get to the U.S. Since then, several thousand Haitians have remained in Tijuana, finding work. Some have married local residents and enrolled in local universities.
“Mexico has been excellent; we have no complaint about Mexico. The United States remains to be seen,” said Josue Vargas, a migrant from Honduras who finally pulled into Tijuana on Wednesday after more than a month on the road.
Ilse Marilu, 24, arrived in Tijuana late Tuesday with her three-year-old daughter, having joined the caravan with a large contingent from San Pedro Sula, Honduras. She walked several miles Tuesday in a fruitless search for space in a migrant shelter before reaching the beach plaza. A Mexican couple dropped off a tent that her daughter and three other children used to sleep in as an evening chill set in.
She planned to stay in Tijuana until caravan leaders arrived and offered help on how to seek asylum in the US.