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News > Latin America

Racism and Beer Cans Thrown at Central American Caravan

  • Central American Exodus, migrant caravan, members reach the U.S. border fence between Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico Nov. 14, 2018.

    Central American Exodus, migrant caravan, members reach the U.S. border fence between Mexico and the United States, in Tijuana, Mexico Nov. 14, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 15 November 2018

Residents in a Tijuana neighborhood, among them politicians, threw beer cans and racist epithets at members of the Central American Exodus early Thursday

A group of about 30 anti-immigrant protesters in a section of Tijuana threw insults and beer cans at members of the Central America Exodus, or migrant caravan, calling them “fucking pieces of shit” who should “go away” after the refugee seekers who have been arriving in the city since Tuesday, according to local media.

Migrant Exodus Rejected by Jalisco Gov't, Stranded in Mexico

“Fucking pieces of shit! On Sunday even 200 police won’t (be able to protect you). Best to go away, out, out, whores, whores. We’re organizing for Sunday so now leave if you know what’s best,” shouted residents in the Playas de Tijuana neighborhood of the northern Mexico city that borders the United States early morning Thursday.

About 100 migrants who are seeking U.S. asylum have been camped out in front of the Star of the Ocean Temple in the Playas de Tijuana neighborhood since about Tuesday.

Citizens, as well as local and federal police, had to make a human fence around the refugees, mainly from Honduras, in order to prevent the anti-immigrant protesters from assaulting the Central Americans who have been trekking and hitchhiking north for over a month.

"It’s not personal but we can not have them in Mexico, there is no work, there is no space, there is no money," shouted one protester.

Tijuana protesters tell Central American Exodus members they aren't welcome in Mexico, "You need to resolve your problems in your own countries, don't bring insecurity here."

According to Somos El Media, the refugees didn’t want to go to municipal shelters for fear they will be separated from their families. Irineo Mujica, a refugee defender, said the group decided not to stay in the shelters because of their prison-like conditions.

In other cases, Reuters reports, many ‘migrant shelters’ in the transient city that sits just south of San Diego, California, are at or nearing capacity and have turned some caravan members away, forcing them to sleep on the Pacific Ocean beach.

Video of the violent residents indicates that they were pushing defenders, and throwing beer cans and rocks at the Central Americans. They also began pushing local media members who report that the act was organized by a city politician from the We Change political party, Aaron Pallares. He told journalists at the Wednesday night scene in front of the religious temple: "We are not acting out of racism. We are concerned about our children, we are concerned about our community."

US Lays Barbed Wire at Tijuana Border as Caravan Draws Closer

Mujica said that the group plans to make its way to the U.S. on Nov. 15.

On Sunday LGBTQ-identifying members of the Exodus were berated by residents of the wealthy Coronado neighborhood in Tijuana after the young caravan members arrived at their rented Airbnb.

They and estimated 8-10,000 other Exodus members are trying to escape rampant poverty, violence, and hunger in their home countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador hoping to receive asylum in the U.S.

President Donald Trump has declared the Exodus, or caravans an "invasion," decreeing last week to not allow people to apply for asylum if they don’t enter the country through an official port of entry. The U.S.-based legal aid group, ACLU, is suing the administration over the move. 

The president also ordered some 7,000 troops to reinforce the U.S.-Mexico frontier with barbed wire and barricades at several major U.S. border cities, including Tijuana.

On Thursday the majority of the first Exodus, between 4,000 and 5,000 people, is trailing up the Pacific coast from the starting at the state of Jalisco. Another 3,000 are resting in the Jesus Martinez Stadium in Mexico, attended to by doctors and the National Human Rights Commission of Mexico.

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