Central American migrants stranded at Mexico-U.S. border
On November 25, several bold migrants decided to defy the United States government and cross the border by force, though they were stopped with tear gas and rubber bullets - Photo: Yadin Xolalpa/EL UNIVERSAL

Central American migrants stranded at Mexico-U.S. border

18/12/2018
13:49
Ariadna García
Mexico City
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6.5 thousand Central American migrants have settled near the Mexico-U.S. border in Tijuana

Two months have passed since the Central American migrants that are part of this year’s caravan abandoned their homes to follow the American dream, leaving their families and countries behind. Thousands of people traveling through Mexico are in search of better living conditions, security, and growth.

Today, the migrants are living in relocation camps, withstanding hunger, cold, and unhealthiness near the Mexico-U.S. border.

There are currently more than six thousand members of the migrant caravan that left Honduras on October 13 and who entered Mexico somewhat by force, moving on to Chiapas, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Mexico City, Querétaro, Jalisco, and finally arriving in Baja California during the first half of November.

However, the number of migrants in the caravan has been reduced. On November 25, several bold migrants decided to defy the United States government and cross the border by force, though they were stopped with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Most had no choice but to remain in the Mexican territory and around 6.5 thousand Central American migrants have settled near the Mexico-U.S. border in Tijuana.

Their first shelter was the Benito Juárez Sports Facility, though the place proved to be too small. Some migrants decided to camp out in the streets, sleeping on mats.

Local authorities decided to make the caravan move to the El Barretal cultural center on November 29, where the Central Americans have been staying since.

Along a surface of 11,524 square meters, the Central Americans have formed a small city of around 2,700 people.

Within the facility, there are several tents, posts of international agencies, a service module to advise those seeking asylum in the United States, and an office of the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH).

There are also members of the National Migration Institute (INM), the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS), state and Federal Police, as well as other civil organizations.

There are small stalls where migrants have begun selling cigarettes, sweets, and food. The migrants have also set up an improvised playroom for the children. There are different bathrooms for women, children, and men. At the yard, the migrants have improvised a football field and music fills the air while some people have decided to beg for money on the street.

The Central American migrants have three options: Apply for asylum in Mexico and work legally while the process takes its course, request for a humanitarian visa in the United States, or go back to their country.

According to Mexican authorities, there are currently 3,200 requests for refugee status undergoing revision. Out of these, 320 were submitted in Tijuana, 92 in Mexicali, and the rest in Tapachula, Chiapas.

Mexican authorities are yet to conduct a proper census of the migrant caravan, though it is likely that around 2,400 Central Americans have managed to cross over to the United States. Some have probably been arrested, others have made it unscathed so far, and others are waiting for their asylum application to be processed.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) informed that the Border Patrol arrested 25,172 people on November, a number 78% higher than the same month in 2017. A total of 5,283 minors traveling alone were also arrested, which was 33% higher than last year.
 

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