Caravan migrants get tired of waiting for US to answer the door, begin to breach border

Central American migrants tired of waiting on the asylum process at the U.S.-Mexico border decided their fate would be better if they attempted an illegal entry from Tijuana.

About two dozen people breached the border Monday, scaling a 10-foot metal fence with the aid of blankets and ropes according to witnesses, Reuters reported.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The illegal entries occurred as dusk fell in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, where many of the thousands of Central American migrants traveling north through Mexico toward the United States have been held up, living in temporary shelters facing an overwhelming humanitarian crisis.

According to Reuters:

In less than an hour, Reuters reporters observed roughly two dozen people climb the approximately 10-foot (3-meter) fence made of thick sheets and pillars of metal. They chose a place in a large overgrown ditch where the fence is slightly lower.

Just before dusk, three thin people squeezed through the fence on the beach and were quickly picked up by the U.S. Border Patrol, witnesses said.

But along the border inland as darkness descended, more and more migrants followed, many bringing children.

 

Despite the danger involved and even as a helicopter patrolled on the U.S. side, migrants decided getting caught by  U.S. Border Patrol was a better fate than waiting in squalid conditions for the process of applying for asylum.

“We’re just observing, waiting to see what happens,” Karen Mayeni, a 29-year-old Honduran mother with three children aged six, 11 and 12, told Reuters as she sized up the fence. “We’ll figure out what to do in a couple of days.”

And about 90 minutes later, the mother and children were seen over the fence on the U.S. side of the border, Reuters reported.

Migrants entering the U.S. illegally hope to get a faster asylum process once they are caught by U.S. Border Patrol than if they waited on the Mexico side where it could reportedly take months, with applications through the Chaparral gate in Tijuana restricted to between 40 and 100 per day, according to Reuters.

Tijuana, meanwhile, struggles to care for the influx of migrants as the city’s mayor noted the lack of resources and the dwindling finances.

“In those six hours that the border was closed, we lost approximately 129 million pesos,” Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum told Fox News referring to the U.S. response to violent clashes at the border last month that prompted President Trump to order the border temporarily closed.

“That’s not fair. How do you think people from Tijuana feel towards those people who are making problems?”  Gastélum asked.

Many Tijuana citizens are, in fact, not happy about the “invasion” of their city, as a recent poll by a Mexican news organization revealed more than half of Mexican citizens hold a negative view of the migrant caravan. And a Tijuana Health Department spokesperson told Fox News last week that a staggering number of the migrants who have come to the city with the caravan are suffering from serious medical issues like tuberculosis and chickenpox.

The camp shelter at the Benito Juarez Sports Complex near the San Ysidro U.S.-Mexico Port of Entry was shut down this past weekend and the migrants were moved to another location due to the unsanitary conditions.

 

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Frieda Powers

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