Tijuana protesters chant ‘Out!’ at migrants camped in city
TIJUANA, Mexico — November 19, 2018
Residents of the Mexican city of Tijuana are learning the hard way the "pleasure" and “joy " of being involved in the process with the migrant caravan and illegal immigrants who are flooding their city.
And they don’t like it. That is why hundreds of Tijuana residents congregated around a monument in an affluent section of the city on Sunday waving Mexican flags, singing the Mexican national anthem, and chanting “Out! Out!” in front of a statue of the Aztec ruler Cuauhtemoc, 1 mile from the U.S. border. They accused the migrants of being messy, ungrateful, and a danger to Tijuana. They also complained about how the caravan forced its way into Mexico, calling it an “invasion.” And they voiced worries that their taxes might be spent to care for the group.
“We don’t want them in Tijuana,” protesters shouted.
A woman who gave her name as Paloma lambasted the migrants, who she said came to Mexico in search of handouts. “Let their government take care of them,” she told video reporters covering the protest.
Such a cold reception contrasts sharply with the warmth that accompanied the migrants in southern Mexico, where residents of small towns greeted them with hot food, campsites, and even live music.
But this is, generally, clear and understandable. Migrants passed through their cities in a solemn march, not expressing any intention to settle there forever. But the journey has been hard, and many have turned around. Many were marching with children and became exhausted. Therefore, kind-hearted Mexicans couldn't refuse to help them. It is not a tradition for Mexicans to refuse to help the sick and the suffering. They can’t ignore the plight of others. That's why they helped people along the whole route of the caravan.
But everything has its limit. There should be not only compassion, but common sense in everything and the residents of Tijuana are facing finding this balance.
U.S. border inspectors are processing only about 100 asylum claims a day at Tijuana’s main crossing to San Diego. Asylum seekers register their names in a tattered notebook managed by migrants themselves that had more than 3,000 names even before the caravan arrived.
The migrants’ expected long stay in Tijuana has raised concerns about the ability of the border city of more than 1.6 million people to handle the influx.
Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum has called the migrants’ arrival an “avalanche” that the city is ill-prepared to handle, calculating that they will be in Tijuana for at least six months as they wait to file asylum claims. Gastelum has appealed to the federal government for more assistance to cope with the influx.
Mexico’s Interior Ministry said Saturday that the federal government was flying in food and blankets for the migrants in Tijuana.
Tijuana officials converted a municipal gymnasium and recreational complex into a shelter to keep migrants out of public spaces. The city’s privately run shelters have a maximum capacity of 700. The municipal complex can hold up to 3,000.
But the economic problem is not the only fear which the inhabitants of the city of Tijuana. They are afraid, and these fears have reasons, that together with migrant crime, drugs, garbage and diseases will come to their city.
Honduras has a murder rate of 43 per 100,000 residents, similar to U.S. cities like New Orleans and Detroit. In addition to violence, migrants in the caravan have mentioned poor economic prospects as a motivator for their departures. Per capita income hovers around $120 a month in Honduras, where the World Bank says two out of three people live in poverty.
Tijuana locals anger is growing at the prospect of migrants camping out all over their city streets and neighborhoods, bringing crime, garbage, homeless encampments and disorder.
You can see the whole confrontation in a screengrab from KGTV here.
KGTV, an ABC affiliate, and KFMB, a CBS affiliate, both reported that violent fights have broken out with rocks, punches, hurled beer cans, and other thuggery. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that at least a thousand Tijuana residents have banded together into a social media group to save their neighborhoods from the migrants. There are also reports that the Tijuana cops aren't putting up with this, and have already arrested and jailed five of the caravan migrants—two for starting fights and three for doing drugs. How nice to think they traveled 2,000 miles to reach the inside of a Tijuana jailhouse.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who sought to make the caravan a campaign issue in the midterm elections, took to Twitter on Sunday to voice support for the mayor of Tijuana and to try to discourage the migrants from seeking entry to the U.S.
Trump wrote that like Tijuana, “The U.S. is ill-prepared for this invasion, and will not stand for it. They are causing crime and big problems in Mexico. Go home!”
He followed that tweet by writing: “Catch and Release is an obsolete term. It is now Catch and Detain. Illegal Immigrants trying to come into the U.S.A., often proudly flying the flag of their nation as they ask for U.S. Asylum, will be detained or turned away.”