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    Central American migrants begin their morning trek as part of a thousands-strong caravan hoping to reach the U.S. border, as they face the Pico de Orizaba volcano upon departure from Cordoba, Veracruz state, Mexico, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. A big group of Central Americans pushed on toward Mexico City from a coastal state Monday, planning to exit a part of the country that has long been treacherous for migrants seeking to get to the United States.

    Not Surprising Tijuana Residents Mad at Mexican Gov't Over Caravan – Scholars

    © AP Photo/ Marco Ugarte
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    The Tijuana anti-caravan protests could have been predicted, Mark Krikorian and Jessica Vaughan from the Centre for Immigration Studies told Sputnik, suggesting that the Mexican government should cooperate with authorities in Tijuana and Baja California and send the migrants back to Central America.

    The protests are not surprising at all, says Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Centre for Immigration Studies, a think-tank in Washington DC, commenting on the anti-immigrant demonstrations in the Mexican city of Tijuana.

    "Despite all the happy talk, the caravan received a warm reception in various places in Mexico because everyone knew it was leaving the next day," he told Sputnik. "But Tijuana is the end of the line for many of them, at least for a while, and more are on the way, so it's perfectly natural that the mayor and many residents will resent thousands of foreigners plopping themselves down in their city, filling shelters, camping on the beach, etc."

    According to Krikorian, 'there's likely to be more to come'.

    On 18 November, hundreds took to the streets of the Mexican border city of Tijuana protesting against the arrival of a 3,000-strong migrant caravan from Central America. The group of demonstrators gathered in front of a statue of the Aztec warrior Cuauhtemoc chanting anti-caravan slogans and denouncing it as an 'invasion'.

    Krikorian's colleague, Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Centre for Immigration Studies, shares a similar stance: "It's not surprising that the people of Tijuana are upset about the arrival of thousands of Central Americans who have tramped through their country, apparently in violation of Mexican law, to demand entry into the United States," she said.

    "These migrants will have to wait in Tijuana for many weeks if the United States refuses to allow them entry right away," the scholar said.

    She highlighted that although "some of the migrants are relatively harmless people hoping to get into the United States for a better life, "some are rowdy and aggressive and disrupting life in Tijuana".

    Demonstrators clash during a protest against migrants from Central America in Tijuana.
    © REUTERS / Hannah McKay
    Demonstrators clash during a protest against migrants from Central America in Tijuana.

    Therefore, there's "no wonder many residents of Tijuana are mad that their government has tolerated this caravan, instead of breaking it up sooner," Vaughan elaborated.

    The scholar believes that the Mexican government should cooperate with local authorities in Tijuana and Baja California and return the migrants to Central America.

    "At least those who do not qualify for asylum in Mexico, and the US government might be willing to assist in that, as we have done in the past," she opined. "If firm steps are not taken to discourage stunts like this, we will continue to see more and more of them".

    Besides, it turned out that the Mexican city was 'ill-prepared to handle this many migrants,' as Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum said, quoted by US President Donald Trump.

    Citing Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials Fox News reported on 20 November that 6,000 people are waiting to be processed at the San Ysidro border crossing in Tijuana.

    However, Mexico's federal government expects the influx of migrants to reach 10,000.

    The massive migrant caravan has been heading from Central America to the US-Mexican border since mid-October. It has brought together thousands of migrants, mostly from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

    To tackle the massive influx of migrants the Trump administration ordered to dispatch about 5,800 troops to the US border with Mexico.

    According to the DHS, more than 500 criminals are travelling with the caravan. Donald Trump earlier warned that the migrant caravan could include members of criminal cartels, stressing that they pose a security threat to the US.

    The views and opinions expressed by the speakers do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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