“We are not criminals” caravan migrants tell their assailants
More than 1,500 migrants who are part of the migrant caravan that has been traveling from Latin America to the United States for weeks, have arrived in Mexican Tijuana today, on the border with the United States. That is what a journalist from the French press agency AFP has established on the spot.
Part of the caravan has decided not to continue the tour on foot but to take buses to the US. This morning, 22 buses with on board some fifty migrants arrived in Tijuana. They joined the 800 migrants who have seeped into small groups since Sunday.
But in Tijuana, migrants, who have been continuously demonized in recent weeks by US President Donald Trump, are not welcomed with open arms. Twenty inhabitants of a rich neighbourhood in Tijuana approached the caravan last night and called on the migrants to return to their homeland while they pelted them with stones. “Kick it off”, they called to a camp of Hondurans near the border. The migrants called back and the confrontation continued until tonight. Dozens of police officers came to the site to keep order.
With a few exceptions, Mexico has welcomed the Central American migrants with open arms: the country offered the participants food and shelter in several cities on the route. The hostile reception in Tijuana is therefore a surprise. “We are not criminals. Why are you treating us like that, while we were treated well elsewhere in Mexico?”, Migrants called back to their assailants. “Please think of the children who are here”.
A recent poll shows that 51.4 percent of the Mexican population is in favour of helping migrants move northward. 33.8 percent are opposed to this. The other respondents had no opinion.
Reception centres flooded
Tijuana, a popular resort for American tourists just south of San Diego, has a large number of American residents. In 2016, 3,000 Haitians settled in the city after they failed to cross the border with the US.
However, the arrival of hundreds of migrants from the caravan is putting the reception centres for migrants, which are already jam-packed, under great pressure. The government of Tijuana just opened a reception centre for 360 people. This week, however, more than 800 people arrived in total, and about 2,000 are expected.