Migrants from caravan to US reach Mexican border city

Breakaway group of LGBT+ migrants arrive in Tijuana to a hostile reception

Some 400 Central American migrants, who broke away from the main caravan in Mexico City, have reached the US border at the Mexican city of Tijuana. Video: Reuters


The first group of migrants from the caravan travelling to the US from Central America has arrived in the Mexican border city of Tijuana.

The arrival in the city of about 80 LGBT+ migrants from the caravan has provoked an angry backlash from local residents, rights activists said.

The migrants are among the thousands who are making their way through Mexico towards the US. They split from the caravan after initially travelling with it as they faced discrimination from others in the group.

Fergie Bibiana Andersen, of the advocacy group Diversidad Sin Fronteras, said the LGBT+ migrants had been verbally abused in Tijuana and also threatened on social media.

“They’re being attacked by the town,” said Ms Andersen, whose organisation has been supporting the LGBT+ migrants.

“They [the attackers] are filled with hate,” she said on Tuesday. “They’re racist people who think [the migrants] are going to just stay there.”

Tijuana resident Juan Carlos Ruano wrote on a neighbourhood Facebook page that the migrants were a security concern and called them “homo-deviant invaders”.

“Everyone has the freedom to do what they want with their lives,” he later told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“But they are impacting us . . . A lot of people are angry.”

Ruano (46) lives in the Playas de Tijuana neighbourhood, where the LGBT+ migrants are staying.

Violence and abuse

Amnesty International said the discrimination highlighted the broader difficulties faced by LGBT+ migrants as they cross Mexico, including violence and abuse from local authorities.

“We have certainly identified them as one of the most vulnerable groups within the context of mobility,” Carolina Jimenez, research director for the Americas at Amnesty International, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

In addition to suffering violence and exclusion from their own families, the LGBT+ migrants face attacks from other migrants, she added.

“We came with the caravan, the caravan is still going,” Cesar Mejia, one of the LGBT+ migrants from Honduras, told reporters on Sunday.

“What we want to avoid is that whenever we reach the end the LGBT community is the last one to be taken into account, in everything.”

The administration of US president Donald Trump has taken a firm stance against the caravan, which began its journey north on October 13th.

On Friday, Mr Trump signed a decree that effectively suspended the granting of asylum to those who crossed the border illegally, a move that could drastically slow asylum claims at gates of entry. – Reuters