'Caravan' Full of LGBT Migrants Approaches US Border

Saul Bowman
November 15, 2018

It will be the first time Mattis will visit the troops at the border that were ordered to deploy there last month.

Mexican officials in Tijuana were struggling to deal with a group of 357 migrants who arrived aboard nine buses Tuesday and another group of 398 that arrived Wednesday.

President Donald Trump made the caravan major news in the US leading up to the election, as he and his supporters in the media warned of an "invasion" at the southern border and urged their base to go out and vote for this reason. César Palencia, director of the Tijuana Municipal Migration Affairs Office, said there is shelter space for 900 in the city, although they will need more mattresses, blankets and clothes for those arriving.

The group is comprised of around 400 people, according to the BBC, including a group of around 80 LGBT migrants that Newsweek reported earlier this week had split with a larger caravan in Mexico City after allegedly facing discrimination from its members.

Currently, several thousand Central American migrants heading for the U.S. are in the western Mexico city of Guadalajara. Such a change would not affect the caravan if the migrants requested asylum at a port of entry.

But the caravan is moving far more quickly through the risky and sparsely populated north than it did through the south and center of the country, thanks to donated transport - sometimes from local authorities who would rather send the migrants on their way than host them in shelters.

Of those, about 1,000 are on or near the border in south Texas.

The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement that it would close lanes at the San Ysidro and Otay Mesa crossings from Tijuana to allow the Department of Defence to install barbed wire and position barricades and fencing.

In Playas de Tijuana on Monday morning, a buzz of activity surrounded a normally quiet, well-to-do residential street where caravan members have been staying in a house that unidentified supporters have been renting out for them.

For years, thousands of mainly Central American immigrants have embarked on long journeys through Central America and Mexico to reach the United States.

Many say they are fleeing poverty, gang violence and political instability in the Central American countries of Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua.

The roughly 4,000 migrants plan to proceed to the city of Queretaro and then possibly to Guadalajara, Culiacan, Hermosillo and eventually Tijuana on the US border.

That still leaves a substantial path for the tens of thousands of people who cross daily: Twenty-three lanes remain open at San Ysidro and 12 at Otay Mesa.

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