A portion of the first migrant caravan has arrived at the border city of Tijuana, Mexico. Their first night there resulted in violent clashes with residents that resulted in several injuries, including three journalists.
This group of around 750 migrants is the largest to reach the border. City and Baja California state officials set up shelters to accommodate the visitors, but nearly half of the migrants left, preferring to sleep out in the open. Most gathered on the beach near the United States border where they were met by residents demanding they return to the shelters.
“The message to the migrant population is very clear,” Francisco Rueda Gómez, secretary-general of the state of Baja California. “We are providing them with humanitarian support, health care and food, however the need to take into consideration the rules of the shelters so they can coexist in harmony with the local population.”
This marks the first test of how migrants will react to their situation now that the journey is over and the waiting begins. They could be in Tijuana for months. Their first night didn’t go as planned.
Around 3,000 more migrants are on their way to bolster their numbers at the border city.
Some of the migrants were interviewed by media and seemed confused they weren’t embraced with open arms. They were cheered on in other cities they’d passed through on their way to the border, but Tijuana is reacting differently.
The reason is obvious. It’s easy to cheer on people who are passing through. It’s more difficult to cheer for people who are going to be living near you for an extended period of time, especially when they scoff at the free shelter, food, and services they are being given on their first night.
If things are this bad on the first night with a few hundred migrants arriving, what will happen when they’re reunited with other factions from the original caravan? Things may get ugly very quickly in Tijuana.