Officials in Tijuana said they have arrested 34 caravan members and will deport them to their home countries.
A Tijuana city statement late Monday said the 34 — apparently all men — were arrested for drug possession, public intoxication, disturbing the peace and resisting police, and added they would be deported to their home countries. The main caravan has between 4,000 and 6,000 participants, so those arrested represent less than 1 percent of the total.
The news of the deportations comes after reports of fights breaking out between Tijuana residents and migrants.
On Sunday, hundreds locals protested the arrival of the migrants, chanting “Out! Out! Out!” and claimed the arrival of the group was an “invasion.”
Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum stated his city was not comfortable with the caravan and compared the group to a group of 3,000 Haitians who ended up in the city last year after an unsuccessful attempt to reach the United States.
“The Haitians arrived with their papers, with a clear vision,” Gastelum said in an interview, stating they had come to the city “in an orderly way, they never asked us for food or shelter,” Gastelum said the Haitains rented apartments, made their own food, found jobs and “inserted themselves in the city’s economy” having never been involved in any disturbances.
In contrast, Gastelum claims the migrants in the caravan, “had arrived all of sudden, with a lot of people – not all … but a lot – were aggressive and cocky.”
Department of Homeland Security officials announced Monday that over 500 criminals are part of the group of migrants stationed just outside the U.S. border.
Officials said “most of the caravan members are not women and children,” and that a majority of the group is made up of teen and adult males. The women and children–they claimed–were strategically placed at the front of the line to gain sympathetic media coverage.