Migrant caravan faces cold welcome, few options at US-Mexico border

Adding to the caravan’s woes, under an executive order Trump issued last week, migrants who do not cross at official border posts will no longer be allowed to request asylum, and face automatic deportation.

Even if they endure the long wait to cross at such posts, less than 10 percent of asylum requests are granted, the US government says.

As the migrants face up to their bleak lack of options, “there’s an enormous risk of an incident along the border — especially when we have heard the openly hostile rhetoric from the US government,” warned Navarrete.

Xenophobic protests 

The caravan has also been met with protests by some Tijuana residents, and xenophobic comments from Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum, who said the “horde” of migrants had arrived “with an aggressive, obscene plan.”

Gastelum, a member of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), called on the Mexican government to deport the migrants immediately.

“You’re going to tell me we have to respect human rights. But human rights are for law-abiding humans,” he said.

On Wednesday, hundreds of Tijuana residents protested at a park where the migrants had set up camp along the fence between Mexico and the United States.

Shouting anti-immigrant slogans, protesters threw stones at the migrants, even targeting children in some cases, as police looked on.

The city has however set up a shelter for the migrants in a sports complex, where more than 2,000 of them spent Thursday night.

The migrants are mostly fleeing poverty and unrest in Central America’s “Northern Triangle” — El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, where brutal gang violence has fueled some of the highest murder rates in the world.

The main caravan began its journey on October 13 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

The migrants rushed the Mexico-Guatemala border six days later, clashing with riot police and then fording the river between the two countries when Mexican authorities refused to let them through as a group. 

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