Tijuana offers clue on problems around migrant caravan

Monday, November 19, 2018

The migrant “caravan” or “invasion” is much less in the spotlight now that the mid-term elections are out of the way, but now that 3,000 of them have poured into Tijuana just south of San Diego, Calif., the reality is making itself apparent.

While American citizens who would block the asylum-seekers were accused of being racist prior to the election, some Tijuana residents have no problem telling the migrants to head back south in no uncertain terms, and without fear of being accused of bigotry.

Mexican federal government officials estimate the number of migrants pouring into Tijuana will soon reach 10,000, yet U.S. border inspectors are processing only about 100 asylum claims a day at the main border crossing.

Most of the group started out in Honduras more than a month ago, fleeing a country with a per capita income of about $120 a month and a murder rate of 43 per 100,000 residents, a rate similar to New Orleans or Detroit.

While the caravan was greeted warmly in more southern regions of Mexico, with hot food, campsites and music, members had to dodge rocks and insults from some residents when they reached Tijuana.

Sunday’s protests had a nationalistic flavor, featuring Mexican flags, the Mexican national anthem, and chants of “Out! Out!” in front of a statue of the Aztec ruler Cuauhtemoc a mile from the U.S. border.

“Let the government take care of them!” one woman shouted to the news cameras.

Residents called for extensive background checks and, and worried that taxpayers’ money would go to support the group.

Some 1,800 Hondurans are estimated to have turned back toward their country since the caravan first set out on Oct. 13.

Others are doing what they can to improve conditions for the migrants, including the opening of public facilities as shelters since private shelters have a capacity of only about 700.

While the migrant caravan was a political football prior to the mid-terms, and it’s now mostly been discarded as the spotlight moves on to other issues, thousands are still awaiting an uncertain fate.

While we have a right to express our opinion on this or any other issue, that right carries an obligation to do something about those issues if we can.

In this season of thanksgiving, consider supporting a charity that is doing something to improve conditions for those you care about. You probably know of an appropriate, reputable organization; or visit Charity Navigator (https://www.charitynavigator.org/) for guidance.

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