A group of angry migrants set fire to items inside an immigration facility in Tijuana, Mexico.
Back in November, migrants and Tijuana residents clashed. Desert Sun reported that during a confrontation that lasted more than three hours, area residents sang the Mexican national anthem and waved Mexican flags. They chanted “Mexico! Mexico!” each time a bus transporting migrants left the beach for the temporary shelter.
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SAN DIEGO—A group of migrants set fire to a mattress, sheets, and blankets during a riot inside an immigration facility in Tijuana, Mexico, on April 1.
Fifty-one people were evacuated and six—including two children 2 and 4 years old—had to be treated for smoke inhalation, according to reports.
Two young men from Guatemala, another two from Cuba, and one from India, allegedly burned the mattress and sheets in the bathroom, damaging the inside of the immigration facility where the migrants were being held, the director of the Tijuana Fire Department, José Luis Jiménez, told Mexican newspaper Milenio.
The National Migration Institute facility, where the riot took place, is approximately 6 miles south of the San Ysidro Port of Entry that separates San Diego from Tijuana. It is one of the busiest ports of entry along the southwest border.
Jiménez said the suspects were arrested and have been turned over to the federal police and immigration authorities and are expected to be deported to their home countries.
Though the motive is still unknown, the head of the National Migration Institute in Tijuana, Rodulfo Figueroa, believes that the migrants started the riot because they were unhappy with their accommodations in the border city.
“It was not a problem of overcrowding. It was a problem of a couple of people, who did not agree with their housing situation, wanting to create a disturbance, which resulted in this,” Figueroa said, according to Unidad Radio. “Fortunately, and thanks to the support of the firemen, the Red Cross, civil protection, the municipal police, and the federal police, this was resolved without any incident.”
On March 27, Mexico’s Interior Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero said that a massive caravan of approximately 20,000 people was forming in Honduras.
“We are aware that a new caravan is forming in Honduras that they’re calling the mother of all caravans,” Cordero said, without elaborating further on when the caravan will head north. She said the criminal organizations behind the “mother of all caravans” are involved in human trafficking, child exploitation, and even organ trafficking.
“You can imagine the size, the scope of this migration flow and that sometimes there’s human trafficking by organized crime,” she said.
“Each migrant represents between two thousand to six thousand dollars for them,” the interior secretary said in an interview following the XXXII National Legal and Fiscal Consultation for Churches and Religious Associations conference, according to media reports.
Honduras denied the claims, saying there are no signs such a caravan is forming, Telemundo reported on March 29.