With news they might have to wait at least six weeks even to apply for asylum, some migrants in the massive squatter’s camp in Tijuana have said enough is enough. Ignoring the advice from Thomas Wolfe — “you can’t go home again” — they’re packing up and heading back home.
At least 50 families, the Washington Post reported, are returning to their native lands with assistance. Thousands more had already dropped out. Others have decided to settle and work in Mexico. The Wall Street Journal reported that hundreds have gone.
Whatever the number, most of the teeming mass of unwelcome migrants in Tijuana still think they’re headed into the United States — legally or not.
Time To Go Home
Many of the migrants, the Post reported, are opting for “assisted voluntary return.”
“For migrants who spent two months walking and hitchhiking through Central America and Mexico, it is a dramatic reversal, a sign of how poor the conditions are here, and how surprised some families are when they learn details about the lengthy U.S. asylum process,” the Post reported.
A border offiicial told CNN the other day that migrants can’t even apply for asylum for six weeks. Border officials are handling about 100 applications per day. And a mere application does not guarantee entry.
An outfit called the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is running the return program. “Some have sick relatives, some miss their families, some are surprised by the conditions here, which are not what they imagined,” IOM’s spokesman told the Post.
Fifty migrants registered to return home with IOM, and “in the next few days, the first group will be flown on commercial airlines to Tapachula, in southern Mexico, and then continue to their home countries, probably by bus,” the Post reported.
Yet another 200 are returning by bus or plane through Mexico’s migration bureau.
Furthermore, according to the Post, “2,010 migrants have chosen ‘voluntary return’” since October 19 when the “caravan” surged into Mexico illegally. “The grueling conditions, walking a marathon’s distance or more each day in searing heat, discouraged many from continuing.”
Another 600 accepted the Mexican president’s “you are at home” offer and will work in southern Mexico, and the government will give temporary work permits to 700 migrants in Baja and Mexico City.
Incoming president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the Post reported, says Mexico can “offer some 100,000 work permits to Central Americans to live in Mexico, including while their asylum claims get processed.”
Another reason the migrants are leaving? The border clash on Sunday.
Using women and children as human shields, migrant invaders attacked U.S. border agents with rocks and other projectiles until they were tear gassed and hit with pepper balls, a continuation of a policy unsparingly used during the Obama administration.
According to the Journal, “Hundreds of Central American migrants who traveled in caravans to Tijuana are requesting assistance to go back home or filing for asylum in Mexico rather than seeking to legally enter the U.S., Mexican authorities said. The spike in such requests over the past two days comes as migrants are facing diminishing prospects to get to the U.S. soon and after violent clashes Sunday between migrants and U.S. security officers at the border.”
"The leaders that were promising them the great American Dream aren't coming through,” a Mexican delegate told Fox News. “They know they're going to be better off going back home.”
So about 80 self-deported on Tuesday, Fox reported. Mexican officials deported another 98 because of their attack on the border.
The figures vary, but the result is the same. Some migrants have gotten the message: Go home.
Some Still Coming
But others are determined to get into the United States, Fox reported.
Some 2,000 migrants are in nearby Mexicali, and will head for Tijuana this week, which is bad news for the residents who don’t want them there. Mexican officials, Fox reported, say 6,062 migrants are in the city now: 3,877, men, 1,127 women, and 1,058 children.
Those figures belie the propaganda line that the migrants are mostly women and children, but that’s a small comfort for Tijuanans. They face a 30-percent increased in the number of migrants who will occupy the town.
And those migrants, again, still plan to head for the U.S. border.
One Guatemalan, who again confirmed that most migrants are not seeking asylum but looking for work, told Fox News he’s coming to America. “It doesn't matter,” he warned. “I got no choice. I got to work for a living.”
Photo: AP Images