UPDATE 2 — 11/26, 11:55 a.m. EST: U.S. authorities shutdown roads and pedestrian bridges Sunday connecting Tijuana and San Diego after an estimated 500 Central American migrants stormed Mexican law enforcement along the border.
A total of 81 people were arrested, 42 on the U.S. side, and 39 in Mexico. U.S. Border Patrol personnel used tear gas on migrants attempting to illegally cross into America as some threw objects at agents.
The Associated Press estimates 5,000 asylum-seekers are waiting on the southern side of the U.S.-Mexico border, but less than 100 applications are being accepted per day.
UPDATE — 11/18, 9:33 p.m. EST: Over 2,600 Central American migrants have now arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border in Tijuana as thousands more continue the trek north in at least two separate caravans.
Over 1,000 local residents of the northern Baja California town demonstrated against the migrants outside a makeshift shelter Sunday morning demanding the Mexican government prepare for an estimated 10,000 more refugees.
According to Baja California’s secretary-general, Francisco Rueda Gomez, the migrants may have to wait on the Mexican side of the border until March 2019 before they can apply for refugee status in the U.S.
On Friday, approximately 5,000 Central American migrants continued to head north towards Tijuana after stopping in Mexico City. While a longer path, the new route is believed to be a safer one to the U.S. border.
The caravan is comprised of 85 percent Hondurans, with the other 15 percent coming from Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. The migrants began their move towards the U.S. three weeks ago. Mexico has offered refuge, asylum, and work visas to some of the migrants; however, most continued onward to the U.S southern border.
President Trump spoke menacingly of the incoming migrants during the midterm election campaign and responded to the incoming caravan by ordering the dispatch of 5,600 U.S. Army service members who are expected to stay through Dec. 15.
2,800 of those service members are stationed in Texas, including 1,000 in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.
Task force commander Col. Richard Ball stated that the U.S. military will not have a law enforcement role and were expected to have “very little incidental contact” with the incoming migrants.
While the majority of Central American migrants are still hundreds of miles from the border and are largely thought to be comprised of mostly women and children, a group of approximately 76 LGBT asylum-seekers who broke off from the main caravan arrived in Tijuana over the weekend.
Two smaller caravans comprised of more Salvadorians trail the original migrant group, each reportedly making their trek up on opposite coasts in Central Mexico.
On Tuesday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced it was closing four lanes at two points of entry between Tijuana and San Diego, Calif., “to install and pre-position port hardening infrastructure equipment in preparation for the migrant caravan and the potential safety and security risk that it could cause.”
Editor’s note: This article has been updated.
[New York Post] [Washington Post] [Telemundo 20] [AP via Fox News] [San Diego Union-Tribune] [CNN] [Photo courtesy EPA via The Independent]