Request asylum in Mexico, problem solved.
TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) — A chaotic border clash with choking tear gas fired by U.S. agents left Central American migrants sullen and dejected, with some opting Monday to leave and others worrying the incident may have spoiled their chances at asylum.
Mexican security forces stepped up their presence at a Tijuana sports complex where thousands from the migrant caravan have been sheltered, apparently seeking to avoid a repeat of Sunday’s ugly scene. Police blocked the migrants from walking toward the border in the morning, though later on they allowed them to move about freely.
Isauro Mejia, 46, from Cortes, Honduras, went looking for a cup of coffee to shake the morning chill following another night sleeping outside after being caught up in the clashes. Before, he had hoped to be able to press an asylum claim, but now he wasn’t so sure.
“The way things went yesterday … I think there is no chance,” Mejia said. “With the difficulty that has presented itself because of yesterday’s incidents … that’s further away.”
Migrants hoping to apply for asylum in the United States must put their names on a waiting list that already had some 3,000 people on it before the caravan arrived in Tijuana. With U.S. officials processing fewer than 100 claims a day, the wait time for the recent arrivals stands to take months.
That has instilled a sense of desperation among many after their grueling trek from Central America. Sunday’s incident began after hundreds marched to the border to try to call attention to their plight. Some attempted to get through fencing and wire separating the countries, prompting volleys of stinging gas.
Cindy Martinez of San Vicente, El Salvador, said she had been about to cross the concertina wire to the U.S. side when the tear gas was launched. She estimated about 20 people had already passed in front of her, and parents begged agents not to unleash the gas because there were young children present.
“I see it as impossible for them to want to give us asylum,” she said. “Because of the words that President Donald Trump has said, I think this is impossible.”
Martinez, 28, said she was now considering getting work in Tijuana.