In Mexico, local residents prevented an internationally heralded shelter for illegal immigrants en route to the United States from opening its doors because they feared it would attract more illegal immigrants that threatened the community.
According to a report in Milenio.com, a Spanish-language outlet, Heiman Vazquez, a Catholic priest in Huixtla, Chiapas, convinced international donors to “take an abandoned” area “north of this city” and “turn it into a temporary shelter for undocumented immigrants en route” to the United States.
But, as Milenio.com reported, “days before the opening, a crowd of neighbors” protested, shouting, “We do not want illegal.” The protests come during “the largest wave of immigration to the region has seen in years.”
“They say that the undocumented will rape their daughters. Which are going to get home. Ladies tell me they do not feel safe with these people coming to town,” Vazquez told the outlet.
According to an English translation of the report, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration, the Vatican, and prominent families in the region donated money and supplies for construction of the facility to be completed.
Vazquez said there was “a xenophobic outbreak” and that the anti-illegal immigrant sentiment was unusual. But local residents have twice rejected his pleas to permanently open the shelter. One demonstrator told him that “as a neighborhood, as a colony, we have children, our daughters. Migrants who pass are both good and bad. Not that we are anti-immigrant, but [we are concerned about crime].”
No word if the mainstream media, as Miguel Gomez noted on Twitter, will refer to the concerned Mexican citizens as “racist tea partiers.”