The “migrant caravan” of people who are allegedly fleeing violence in their home countries is now camped out in the murder-ridden city of Tijuana, Mexico. The migrants appear to be pondering President Donald Trump’s threats to prosecute illegal border crossers and people making false claims of asylum.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen warned the members and organizers of the “migrant caravan” that people who enter illegally, make false immigration claims, or assist or coach someone on how to make a false immigration claim will be prosecuted, Breitbart Texas reported.
“If you enter our country illegally, you have broken the law and will be referred for prosecution,” Nielsen stated on Wednesday. “If you make a false immigration claim, you have broken the law and will be referred for prosecution. If you assist or coach an individual in making a false immigration claim, you have broken the law and will be referred for prosecution.”
Her comments and several tweets from President Trump appear to have stalled the migrants in Tijuana, just south of the Sanctuary State of California’s border with Mexico.
The U.S.-based group Pueblos Sin Fronteras, an organizer of the “migrant caravan,” said they are bringing in lawers to “speak with migrants” before they decide on if, when, and where to cross the border. This could possibly be the type of “coaching” Secretary Nielsen referred to. “Human rights groups” and attorneys are claiming the Trump Administration is violating U.S. and international law by arresting “asylum seekers” and charging them with illegal entry, Reuters reported this week.
The Trump Administration has advised migrants to seek asylum in the first country they enter after leaving their country of origin.
Migrant Andres Rodriguez, a Salvadoran national, claims his son has received repeated death threats from criminal gangs, Reuters reported. He plans to enroll his “studious teenager” in an American university “on day one.”
Some of the groups are planning to make the border crossing to the U.S. on Sunday when they will move forward with asylum claims, Reuters stated.
While the “migrant caravan” began with more than 1,000 people, it has shrunk in size to somewhere between 300 and 600 migrants, various media outlets report.
Migrant shelters in Tijuana’s Zona Norte filled to capacity. This area of Tijuana is known for “seedy bars and bordellos,” CNBC stated.
Organizer Leonard Olsen of Pueblos Sin Fronteras, told CNBC that many of the asylum seekers claim to face death threats in their home countries. However, the organizers marched the caravaners directly into one of the most notorious murder regions of Mexico. This month alone, nearly 150 people have been murdered in Tijuana, Breitbart Texas’ Robert Arce reported. Nearly 700 people are reported to have been killed in this community since January 1.
Tristan Call, a volunteer with Pueblo Sin Fronteras, acknowledged the dangers faced by migrants along their journey. He said his group provided security for the people who stayed together.
“We have prevented 10, 20, 100 kidnappings with this caravan,” Call said in Spanish. “We don’t know how many and we don’t want to know how many.”
Other migrants told CNBC they still intend to crosss the border into California in the next few days. One family said they hope to join relatives in Los Angeles “where his children could learn English, go to school, play in parks, and buy toys — luxuries that are out of reach to them in Guatemala.”