As it happenedended1542332214

Migrant caravan: More than 1,500 refugees and migrants arrive at US-Mexico border

US troops deployed by Donald Trump have erected concrete barriers and razor-wire fences to keep people out

Chris Stevenson
New York
Friday 16 November 2018 02:36
comments
What is the Migrant Caravan heading to the Mexico-US border?

Hundreds of refugees and migrants that were part of a caravan travelling from Central America has reached the city of Tijuana at the US-Mexico border.

In joining the more than 750 people that had already reached the city, there are now more than 1,500 migrants - many of them are fleeing poverty and violence in their home countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Around 6,000 troops deployed by President Donald Trump are waiting on the other side of the border, having spent time building concrete barriers and erecting razor-wire fences to keep people out.

With US border inspectors at the main crossing into San Diego processing only about 100 asylum claims a day, it could take weeks if not months to process those who are part of the caravan that departed from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, more than a month ago.

Another 2,000 more refugees and migrants are expected to to arrive in Tijuana by the weekend.

Tijuana's factories are always looking for workers but the prospect of thousands more destitute Central Americans has posed new challenges.

Delia Avila, director of Tijuana's family services department, who is helping spearhead the city's response, said migrants who can arrange legal status in Mexico are welcome to stay.

“Tijuana is a land of migrants. Tijuana is a land that has known what it is to embrace thousands of co-nationals and also people from other countries,” Mr Avila told the Associated Press.

Oscar Zapata, 31, reached the Tijuana bus station at 2am from Guadalajara with his wife and their three children, ages 4, 5 and 12.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

Back home in La Ceiba, Honduras, he was selling pirated CDs and DVDs in the street when two gangs demanded “protection” money. He had already seen a colleague gunned down on a street corner because he couldn't pay.

When he heard about the caravan on the television last month he was quick to move. “It was the opportunity to get out,” Mr Zapata said.

Mr Zapata said he hopes to join a brother in Los Angeles but has not yet decided on his next move. Like many others, he planned to wait in Tijuana for others in the caravan to arrive and gather more information before seeking asylum in the United States.

Follow the latest updates below

Please allow a moment for the liveblog to load

Associated Press contributed to this report

1542306340

Hello and welcome to our coverage of the first sections of the migrant caravan reaching the US border.

Chris Stevenson15 November 2018 18:25
1542306594

Hundreds of refugees and migrants that were part of a caravan travelling from Central America has reached the city of Tijuana at the US-Mexico border.

In joining the more than 750 people that had already reached the city, there are now more than 1,500 migrants - many of them are fleeing poverty and violence in their home countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Chris Stevenson15 November 2018 18:29
1542306606

Around 6,000 troops deployed by President Donald Trump are waiting on the other side of the border, having spent time building concrete barriers and erecting razor-wire fences to keep people out. 

Chris Stevenson15 November 2018 18:30
1542307001

According to the Associated Press 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!"

Chris Stevenson15 November 2018 18:36
1542307160

Police kept the two sides apart, although one person travelling in the caravan suggested that the vast majority of the city stands with them

Vladimir Cruz, from El Salvador, told the AP: "These people are the racists, because 95 percent of people here support us."  

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

Chris Stevenson15 November 2018 18:39
1542307893

  ↵Mr Trump has declared the caravans an "invasion" - part of the demonising language that was a big part of his strategy for energising his supporter base for last week's midterm elections.

The president has barely mentioned the caravans since that Tuesday.

Chris Stevenson15 November 2018 18:51
1542308630

However, the number of US troops at the border with Mexico may have peaked at about 5,800, the US commander of the mission - Lieutenant General Jeffrey Buchanan - told Reuters.

He added that he would start looking next week at whether to begin sending forces home or perhaps shifting some to new border positions.

Chris Stevenson15 November 2018 19:03
1542309470

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis authorised the mission to continue to 15 December, and while Lieutenant General Buchanan has not rule out an extension, he said one was unlikely.

"It is a hard date. And we have no indications that CBP [Border Patrol] is going to need us to do our work for longer than that," Lieutenant General Buchanan said.

Chris Stevenson15 November 2018 19:17
1542310370

Here is a bit more from CNN from this morning about the fact that Mr Trump has gone quiet on the "threat" he says the caravans pose.

 

Chris Stevenson15 November 2018 19:32
1542311090

US Customs and Border Patrol (CHP) offices have been tweeting about their preparations for people reaching the border.

 

Chris Stevenson15 November 2018 19:44

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments