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Sun Nov 18, 2018, 10:19 AM

Migrants get cool reception in Mexican border town


By JULIE WATSON
today

TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — Many of the nearly 3,000 Central American migrants who have reached the Mexican border with California via caravan said Saturday they do not feel welcome in the city of Tijuana, where hundreds more migrants are headed after more than a month on the road.

The vast majority were camped at an outdoor sports complex, sleeping on a dirt baseball field and under bleachers with a view of the steel walls topped by barbed wire at the newly reinforced U.S.-Mexico border. The city opened the complex after other shelters were filled to capacity. Church groups provided portable showers, bathrooms and sinks. The federal government estimates the migrant crowd in Tijuana could soon swell to 10,000.

Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum has called the migrants’ arrival an “avalanche” that the city is ill-prepared to handle, calculating that they will be in Tijuana for at least six months as they wait to file asylum claims. U.S. border inspectors are processing only about 100 asylum claims a day at Tijuana’s main crossing to San Diego. Asylum seekers register their names in a tattered notebook managed by migrants themselves that had more than 3,000 names even before the caravan arrived.

While many in Tijuana are sympathetic to the migrants’ plight and trying to assist, some locals have shouted insults, hurled rocks and even thrown punches at the migrants.

It’s a stark contrast to the many Mexican communities that welcomed the caravan with signs, music and donations of clothing after it entered Mexico nearly a month ago. Countless residents of rural areas pressed fruit and bags of water into the migrants’ hands as they passed through southern Mexico, wishing them safe journeys.

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https://www.apnews.com/cecfafdd898b478b81afb20a1e4f4279

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