Many US-bound caravan migrants disperse as asylum process stalls
TIJUANA, Mexico: Thousands of Central American migrants spent weeks travelling north through Mexico in caravans, walking and hitching rides when possible, only for many to give up hope and turn back when they met resistance at the US border.
Others hopped the border fence, often directly into the hands of immigration authorities on the US side, while still others dug in at temporary lodgings in Tijuana for the long process of seeking asylum from a reluctant US government.
As rain poured down on a former music venue in Tijuana that holds a diminished crowd of 2,500 migrants, Jessica, 18, grabbed her feverish 1-year-old daughter and took her inside to a friend while she figured out what to do with her broken tent.
Jessica had travelled from El Salvador, and said she and her husband were waiting in the Barretal camp for the right moment to try to cross the border illegally.
Other migrants face the same dilemma.
Of 6,000 who arrived in Tijuana in the caravans last month, 1,000 have scrambled over border fences, and most of those were detained, the head of Mexico’s civil protection agency David Leon told local media on Wednesday.
A further 1,000 have accepted voluntary deportation, he said, while others are living on the street outside the municipal sports center where they first arrived, or in smaller shelters.
The director of the Barretal camp, Mario Medina, said he expected hundreds more to arrive within days.
US President Donald Trump has sought to make it harder to get asylum, but a federal court last month placed a temporary restraining order on his policy that only permitted asylum claims made at official ports of entry. — Reuters