News Americas, TIJUANA, Mexico, Fri. Nov. 30, 2018: Feelings of despair are growing among thousands of Central American migrants camped out in Mexico’s border city of Tijuana.
Faced with what could be a weeks-long wait to even make for entry into the United States, many are revising their plans.
Some are reconsidering asylum in Mexico or giving up their dream entirely and going home.
Three days after a group of Central American migrants rushed the U.S. border, hoping to make it to the other side, they’re back to a life in limbo in Tijuana. For some, the experience was enough to change their intentions completely.
Though he had fled terrible violence in Honduras, Jose Flores said his first ever experience with the United States convinced him that he doesn’t want a second.
“An officer stood there in the middle of the street looking like Rambo, and boom. He launched a big gas bomb right into the middle of us, and sent people running. It’s a shame to go, but I love my family a lot more than being here now. I’m very sick now as a result of it, and I can’t continue,” said Jose Omar Flores, a Honduran migrant.
On Tuesday, along with around 100 of his compatriots, Jose decided to return to Honduras, accepting the Mexican authorities’ offer of a flight back home. Others are piling into vans to drive back. Firm numbers are hard to come by, but hundreds if not thousands are believed ready to give up.
After making it this far along the dangerous Mexican migrant trail, in many places thanks to transportation and humanitarian aid offered by local authorities, many members of the caravan sincerely believed they would be received with similar compassion at the U.S. border. Instead, they were met with aggression.
“They fired the gas bombs at us, and everyone went running. Kids and women were fainting. We’ve never seen anything like that in our own country,” said Olwin Josue, another Honduran migrant.
For those choosing to return, the incident was the final straw in what has been an exhausting journey.
“Many of us are sick with asthma, and you can’t sleep well. Food is scarce, and instead of us sending money to our families, they are sending money to us in order to eat, which is unfair. So I’m not going to risk my life to get somewhere where I have no one, when getting there is so dangerous, so I’d rather go home,” said Reina Elizabet Perez, a female Honduran migrant.
Amid this worsening humanitarian crisis, Mexico’s incoming Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard is set to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday, in a search for common ground.
The U.S. border patrol on Sunday suspended all traffic at a busy crossing between San Diego, California and Mexico’s Tijuana, where thousands of migrants are massing in a makeshift shelter to apply for asylum.