More–than–500 criminals–are traveling with the–migrant–caravan–that’s massed on the other side of a San–Diego–border–crossing, homeland security–officials said Monday afternoon.
The revelation–was made–during a conference–call–with–reporters, with officials asserting that “most of the caravan–members are not–women and children”. They claimed the group is mostly made–up of a single adult or teen males and that the women and–children have been–pushed to the front–of the line in a bid to garner sympathetic media coverage.
“All legal options are on–the table and we have been–negotiating with all our partners in central–America with ways to deal–with–the caravan,” one official said when asked about reports that the U.S. government–is planning to make asylum-seekers remain on the–Mexican side of the border–while their claims are being reviewed.
Homeland Security–officials say there are–currently 6,000 people–in–Tijuana waiting to be processed–at the San Ysidro–border crossing, with–more on the way.
This AM, all of #SanYsidro Port of Entry’s northbound lanes were temporarily closed to initiate additional port hardening efforts after @CBP officials were notified that a large # of caravan migrants were planning to rush the border in an attempt to gain illegal access to the US.
— Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen (@SecNielsen) November 19, 2018
Those–who have–already–entered the–border–city in the past few–days have been met with an icy–reception. The group’s–members are also coming–to the realization that–they could–be stuck on that–unwelcoming side of the fence for months–if–they–try to enter–America the–legal way.
Adding–to–the–increasing certainty of the–group’s situation, the–U.S. Border–Patrol temporarily closed–all–northbound–lanes at the San Ysidro–Port of Entry–early Monday morning as–the U.S. continues–to “position–additional–port hardening materials.
“Unfortunately, some–members–of the–caravan are purposely–causing–disruptions at our border ports of entry,” Homeland–Security Secretary–Kirstjen–Nielsen posted on Twitter. “There is a legal and–illegal way to enter the U.S. We have deployed additional–forces to protect–our border.”
Given the increasing–attention on the–caravan, and the–insistence by top U.S. officials that the migrants will not–simply be allowed to enter the U.S., the crowds in Tijuana reportedly may end up–having to wait six months for their asylum claims to be heard.
“We have to wait — for how long?” Lenin–Herrera Batres, a 20-year-old–who–left Honduras with his wife–and 2-year-old son, asked–the New–York–Times. “We don’t have the money–to stay–here for one month, two months.”
Another migrant,–24-year-old José Adan Núñez, told–the newspaper “if I die on the way, at least I will have fought–for–something,” after spending a few days in a shelter in–Tijuana.
U.S. border–inspectors–are already processing–only about 100 asylum–claims–per day at Tijuana’s main–crossing to San–Diego, according to the Associated–Press. Asylum seekers are–registering their–names in a tattered–notebook managed by migrants themselves that had–more than 3,000 names–even before the first members of the leading–caravan started arriving last week.
The arrivals are expected–to continue throughout Monday and into the week ahead. Most of a group of–3,400 migrants, who were last–in the border city of Mexicali, should make it to–Tijuana Monday, an advocacy–organization told the New York Times.
Tijuana Mayor Juan–Manuel–Gastélum – who has referred to the arrivals as “bums” and questioned–whether a referendum in the city of 1.6 million–is–needed to determine whether or not they–should be–allowed to stay – reportedly–estimated the migrants may have to wait–six months for their asylum claims to be processed.
The Mexican–Interior Ministry announced–Friday–that just–under 2,700 Central American migrants have–applied for–asylum in Mexico–under a program launched late last month that–pledged to provide them–with–work and living–permissions faster.
Yet–officials–anticipate the migrant caravan arrivals in–Tijuana will soon swell in excess of 10,000 people – and will need to be housed–for an extended period of time – which the Mexican–government says it lacks the–resources for.
The majority of migrants,–who have been on foot for more than a month, are sleeping on a dirt baseball–field at an outdoor sports complex in Tijuana by the newly-fortified barbed wire–fence that separates–Mexico from the United States.
And they haven’t gotten a warm welcome from the–residents of Tijuana.
On Sunday, hundreds of–locals gathered around a–monument in the city to protest the migrants’ arrival,–waving Mexican–flags and chanting “Out! Out!” the Associated Press reported.
“We don’t want them–in–Tijuana,” protesters were–reported to have shouted.
Juana Rodriguez, a–housewife, told the AP that the–Mexican government needs to conduct background–checks on the migrants to make–sure they don’t have criminal records.
A woman who gave her name–as Paloma also 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.