"I prefer to be in detention in the United States than to return to my country, where I know they are going to kill me for being different", said Nelvin Mejía, a transgender woman who arrived in Tijuana on Monday with a group of about 70 people seeking asylum.
The front line of what President Donald Trump calls a migrant "invasion" has arrived at the USA border - dozens of lesbian, gay and transsexual asylum seekers from Central America. They were primarily tasked with installing concertina wire and pre-positioning jersey barriers, barricades and fencing.
About 80 migrants, the majority of whom identify as LGBT, splintered off from the larger group in Mexico City after weeks of what they say was discriminatory treatment by local residents and other travelers, Honduran migrant Cesar Mejia told reporters at a news conference on Sunday.
Francisco Rueda Gomez, Baja California's secretary-general, said that the arrival of the large group could be days or weeks away. According to the media, this was made possible after an anonymous group paid for a bus that took the "LGBT caravan" to Tijuana. "If they attempt to enter illegally, they will have violated USA criminal law and in accordance with the President's proclamation and the Interim Final Rule they would be ineligible for asylum".
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that effective Tuesday morning it will close four vehicle lanes at the Southern border with Mexico at Tijuana to prepare for the migrants working their way north to the United States.
As with the others, the LGBT faction are hoping to get political asylum either at the San Ysidro or Otay Mesa ports of entry.
Ahead of last Tuesday's midterm elections, President Donald Trump and his administration had ramped up rhetoric against the caravans, with the US leader vowing to stop what he called an "invasion" at the border. Such a change would not affect the caravan if the migrants requested asylum at a port of entry. Santiago Alvarez, a police officer on duty outside their rental house, said that people have stopped by "knocking on the door, shouting things, telling them to leave". We've had migration for years, and these people just want to get to the US. "They wanted to be taken to another state, that can't be done".
From Sonora, some migrants said they had already caught buses from to Tijuana.
"They experienced a lot of violence, including having the shelter they were staying in robbed and set on fire", she said.