Saturday, 15 December, 2018

More than 1,500 caravan migrants at US-Mexico border

Rodrigo Abd  AP Rodrigo Abd AP
| 16 November, 2018, 04:26

With a total of three caravans moving through Mexico including 7,000 to 10,000 migrants in all, questions arose as to how Tijuana would deal with such a huge influx, especially given US moves to tighten border security and make it harder to claim asylum. A few jumped or crawled to openings in the fence onto US soil but quickly ran back as Border Patrol agents approached.

Border officials said the barriers and boxes would be removed from roadways after the caravans arrived.

The U.S. government said it was starting work Tuesday to "harden" the border crossing from Tijuana ahead of the caravans.

Mexican officials in Tijuana were struggling to deal with a group of 357 migrants who arrived aboard nine buses Tuesday and another group of 398 that arrived Wednesday. They are legally prohibited from engaging in domestic law enforcement, such as arresting migrants crossing the border. "If they deport us we'll come right back".

Sorto said he would consider staying in Tijuana if he could get asylum from Mexico.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, meanwhile, visited U.S. troops posted at the border in Texas and said the deployment of military personnel ordered by President Donald Trump provides good training for war, despite criticism that the effort is a waste of taxpayer money and a political stunt.

On Tuesday, CNN reported that the U.S. troops on the Texas southern border were expected to finish their assigned task of reinforcing border crossing points, largely with concertina wire, in the coming days.

Dozens of gay and transgender participants in the caravan were already lining up Thursday to submit asylum claims, though it was unclear how soon they would be able to do so. Shanahan said the request runs through December 15.


Migrants, part of a caravan of thousands traveling from Central America en route to the United States, line up for food in a makeshift camp in Mexico City, Mexico, Nov. 15, 2018.

Mexico said last week it had issued 2,697 temporary visas to individuals and families, allowing them to work while their refugee applications proceed.

The LGBT members had planned to stay in Tijuana for several days in accommodations rented through Airbnb, before making their asylum claims at the border.

In recent days, around 400 migrants traveling with a caravan group that began its journey from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on October 13, had reportedly started to arrive in Tijuana. As she watched her daughter-in-law and grandson lying inside a donated tent, she said she would wait for caravan leaders to explain her options.

The bulk of the migrant group - about 4,000 people, mostly from Honduras - is making its way through Sonora state and is expected to arrive in Tijuana in a few days.

That number included around 80 LGBT migrants that Newsweek reported earlier this week had split with the caravan in Mexico City after allegedly facing discrimination from its members.

Like most of those in the third caravan, migrant Javier Pineda is from El Salvador, and hopes to reach the United States.

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