Some Central Americans who arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border as part of the migrant caravan have decided to head home.
There is also the possibility that some of the migrants will remain in Mexico.
“A decrease asylum requests reflects on the fact that people have realized the difficulty of this trip and they have also realized about the possibility that Mexico is offering [to give them work]. Mexico has opened its doors, Mexico is offering asylum, Mexico is also offering jobs,” a representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said at a shelter for migrants in Tijuana, Mexico.
According to The San Diego Union-Tribune, the reason the migrants are taking up the offer to go back include economic responsibilities back home, a fear of legal consequences for clashing with authorities at the border, and a growing weariness of Tijuana’s shelters.
Many migrants that claim asylum now have to wait in Mexico until their claims are processed by U.S. authorities. This change in policy could keep them in Mexico for a significant stretch of time.
“I thought I’d already be working in the United States by now,” 27-year-old Jonathan Canales, a Honduran who is choosing to return, told the Union-Tribune. He has been staying in a Tijuana shelter for over two weeks.
Canales left behind his wife and 2-year-old daughter in hopes of finding a job in the United States. He is a plumber in Honduras and is looking forward to getting back to work and reuniting with his family, the Union-Tribune reported.
Other migrants also do not like the conditions of the shelters.
“The conditions inside are not just unclean, they’re a little dangerous,” said 22-year-old Maria Granados, via the Union-Tribune. She was also looking to return home and see her 2-year-old daughter.
Granados said she had also become disillusioned with what has become of the migrant caravan. She didn’t expect it to become violent. On Nov. 25 things became tense when migrants threw rocks at border agents and tried to break through border fencing. Some were driven back with tear gas.
Granados has also come to realize, as have other migrants in the caravan, that they might not get into the United States after all.
Gang Members Join the Migrant Caravan
On Nov. 28, border patrol announced that they had arrested an MS-13 gang member in California. Jose Villalobos-Jobel, 27, was arrested on Nov. 24 after agents suspected him of entering California illegally. He later confessed to border agents that he was a Honduran citizen who had traveled up with the caravan and that he was a gang member.
“Mexico should move the flag waving Migrants, many of whom are stone cold criminals, back to their countries.
“Do it by plane, do it by bus, do it anyway you want, but they are NOT coming into the U.S.A. We will close the Border permanently if need be. Congress, fund the WALL!” President Trump posted to Twitter on Nov. 26.
There are over 7,000 migrants waiting at the border in Tijuana and Mexicali. More than 800 are still on their way.