Sat | Dec 15, 2018

Migrants fill Tijuana shelters, more on way to US border

Published:Friday | November 16, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Marvin Ochoa, center, of Honduras, waits in line for a meal behind his wife Diana Marylin Ochoa after they arrived with a Central America migrant caravan to Tijuana, Mexico, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)


Members of a migrant caravan started to meet some local resistance as they continued to arrive by the hundreds in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, where a group of residents clashed with migrants camped out by the US border fence.

About 100 migrants declined offers of rides to shelters and had camped out late Wednesday by the steel border fence at Tijuana's beach area, when a similar number of local residents marched up to the group shouting, "You're not welcome," and, "Get out!"

Police kept the two sides apart.

Vladimir Cruz, a migrant from El Salvador, said Thursday, "These people are the racists because 95 per cent of people here support us.

"It is just this little group that doesn't support us," Cruz said. "They are uncomfortable because we're here."

Playas de Tijuana, as the area is known, is an upper-middle-class enclave, and residents appeared worried about crime and sanitation. One protester shouted, "This isn't about discrimination, it is about safety!"

There are real questions about how the city of Tijuana will manage to handle the migrant caravans working their way up through Mexico, and which may total 10,000 people in all.

"No city in the world is prepared to receive this number of migrants," said Mario Osuna, the Tijuana city social development director. He said the city hopes the federal government "will start legalising these people immediately" so they could get jobs and earn a living in Tijuana.

The migrants, who slept in overcrowded shelters and in tents with a view of armed U.S. Border Patrol agents, said they will wait for other migrants to join them before making their next moves.