One day after hundreds of Tijuana protesters chanted against the arrival of thousands of Central American migrants, the United States closed the busiest border crossing from Mexico for several hours today, according to the Associated Press. The border was closed to northbound traffic in order to install an updated security barrier. The wire-topped barrier is another effort to strengthen the border from a surge of migrants. The U.S. also shut down one of the two pedestrian crossings. The morning’s border shutdown caused long lines, as Tijuana residents were commuting to work in the U.S.
Protests were in full swing Sunday, with emotions at an all-time high, as Tijuana residents expressed their anger over the migrant caravan that dropped almost 3,000 asylum-seekers in the border city in recent days. With thousands more expected to cross the border in the coming weeks, protesters yelled for the migrants to go home, according to NBC News. Residents sang the Mexican national anthem while waving Mexican flags.
Migrants will more than likely be held in the border city for several months before asylum claims can be processed for crossing into the U.S. Border inspectors process only roughly 100 claims per day, according to the Associated Press.
Tijuana residents are reportedly divided over the influx of asylum-seekers. Many protesters agree with President Donald Trump’s policy regarding tougher border laws.
One protester, Elvia Vijeras, spoke with NBC News.
“He’s defending his border, unlike our president,” said Vijeras. “Now there will be more violence in Tijuana.”
But others would rather extend their hands in welcome to the thousands fleeing violence from Honduras. A small group who were showing their support held a sign that read “Childhood has no borders.”
Asylum-seekers who have already reached the municipal shelter in Tijuana are confused by the protesters.
“We are fleeing violence,” said Josue Caseres, 24, of Honduras, as quoted by the Associated Press. “How can they think we are going to come here to be violent?”
President Trump tweeted on the matter.
The Mayor of Tijuana, Mexico, just stated that “the City is ill-prepared to handle this many migrants, the backlog could last 6 months.” Likewise, the U.S. is ill-prepared for this invasion, and will not stand for it. They are causing crime and big problems in Mexico. Go home!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 18, 2018
Most of the migrants have been on the move for more than a month before even reaching Tijuana. Many northern Mexican states are not setting up shelters for the migrants and a large shelter in Mexico City closed. The large shelter in Mexico City held thousands of migrants at one time.
The border crossing at San Ysidro sees roughly 110,000 people entering the U.S. every day, according to the Associated Press report. Another 10,000 migrants are expected to reach the border city looking for entrance into the U.S. Meanwhile, Tijuana has set up municipal shelters in an attempt to house the increase in migrants. The current shelter is able to hold up to 3,000 individuals.