The first migrant caravan arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border this week to find a fortified Tijuana port of entry, and they’re now resting up at Airbnbs in upscale neighborhoods in Playas de Tijuana provided by their American attorneys.
Locals haven’t exactly greeted the group with open arms, according to Mexican journalist Jorge Nieto.
“They … had their first moment of tension in the area of Playas de Tijuana where they are staying with the neighbours who did not appear to agree with their presence,” Nieto posted to Facebook.
Nieto told KGTV locals were “yelling at them go away go to a shelter, this is not your place, all you came here this is a safe area and we are afraid of you.”
The news site reports the group of about 85 mostly LBGTQ migrants trudged ahead of the first large caravan heading to the U.S. “because they felt they were being discriminated against.”
Videos from Tuesday show migrants climbing atop the border fence separating San Diego’s Friendship Park from Mexico, though officials told KGTV there have been no arrests.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection, meanwhile, is working with U.S. troops deployed to the border to shut down several lanes of traffic at the Tijuana port of entry to install “port hardening infrastructure equipment” including barbed wire and concrete reinforcements, according to NPR.
The prep work, dubbed Operation Secure Line, came as a convoy of nine buses and trucks with about 350 migrants arrived in Tijuana Tuesday, many chanting “Mexico, Mexico, Mexico,” “Viva Honduras,” and “Let’s see Donald Trump,” NBC San Diego reports.
Anabel Casillas, spokeswoman for Airbnb Mexico told Newsweek the rental platform is completely booked in Tijuana.
According to the San Diego Union Tribune:
Some 5,000 caravan members, most of them from Honduras, agreed at an assembly in Mexico City last week that they would head to the Tijuana-San Diego border. The plan is for many to turn themselves in at the San Ysidro Port of Entry and ask the U.S. government for asylum. …
A Texas-based nonprofit agency, RAICES, that offers low-cost legal services to immigrants and refugees, said Monday that it had raised the funds to purchase 77 bus tickets, pay for four nights at the Airbnb, and send a legal team to Mexico.
Mexican officials told the news site civic and church groups in Tijuana and Mexicali have capacity for about 1,600 spaces at shelters, and some are already to capacity.
Baja California is asking the Mexican government for $4 million to cover food, shelter, health care and other needs for the main caravan that expected to arrive within days.
U.S. officials pointed out that Mexico has already offered asylum and work visas to those in the caravan, and made it clear most likely won’t make it into the country. Nearly 2,700 migrants took refuge in Mexico, while 533 have requested to return to their home countries, NBC San Diego reports.
“We are at capacity,” U.S. Border Patrol Chief Patrol Agent Rodney Scott said at a press conference. “Your asylum claim here, unless it’s fear from Mexico, is probably not going to go well.”