Migrant caravan reaches Mexico-US border

AFP | Many Central American migrants who have traveled up to northern Mexico have been met with protests by some residents

"What we want to avoid is for violence to become part of the dynamic from here onward, considering the possible intention of entering the United States in an untimely and unorderly manner", Government Secretary Alfonso Navarrete told a press conference in Mexico City.

On Wednesday, hundreds of Tijuana residents protested at a park where the migrants had set up camp along the fence between Mexico and the United States.

The main caravan began its journey on October 13 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, and walked or hitch-hiked much of the more than 4,300 kilometers (2,700 miles) to Tijuana.

The migrants rushed the Mexico-Guatemala border six days later, clashing with riot police and then fording the river between the two countries when Mexican authorities refused to let them through as a group.

With shelters already full, authorities in Tijuana opened a gymnasium and gated sport complex for up to 1,000 migrants, with a potential to expand to 3,000.

As buses from western and central Mexico trickled in overnight and into the morning, families camped inside the bus terminal and waited for word on where they could find a safe place to sleep.

Olvin Joel Lobo Reyes, 21, who said he left Honduras because of poverty and was seeking a job in the United States, arrived on Tuesday among a group of about 350 caravan migrants.

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For those gathering in Tijuana, word that US Border inspectors are processing only about 100 asylum claims a day at the main border crossing with San Diego has many migrants anxious they'll be stuck on the Mexican side for weeks. "They are uncomfortable because we're here".

Playas de Tijuana, as the area is known, is an upper-middle-class enclave, and residents appeared anxious about crime and sanitation.

The Pentagon says there are no plans for U.S. forces to interact with migrants and that they had been carrying out support tasks for U.S. Customs and Border (CBP), such as stringing up concertina wire and building temporary housing for themselves and CBP personnel.

"No city in the world is prepared to receive this number of migrants", said Mario Osuna, the Tijuana city social development director.

The caravan has fragmented somewhat in recent days in a final push to the border, with some migrants moving rapidly in buses and others falling behind. Tijuana faced a potential influx of as many as 10,000 in all.

"You're going to tell me we have to respect human rights". His phone rang unanswered Thursday.

Even if they endure the long wait to cross at such posts, less than 10 percent of asylum requests are granted, the USA government says. Some 533 migrants had requested a voluntary return to their countries, the government said.

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