Anti-immigrant sentiment isn’t a new phenomenon in Mexico. For Central Americans traveling through the Latin American country, Mexico has always been dangerous. And now, as a caravan makes its way to the United States, we’re seeing these unfavorable views of Central Americans come to the forefront. Over the weekend, Mexicans in Tijuana staged an anti-caravan protest that demonstrated just how prevalent these negative feelings are in the country.
Hundreds of Mexicans marched toward an immigrant shelter on Sunday. They shouted, “Hondurans, get out. We don’t want you here.” They called Central Americans ungrateful. They voiced the ways the government had failed them. They carried signs that read “Mexico first” and “No more caravans.” They donned Mexican jerseys and waved the flag. And though they said they weren’t anti-immigrant, some of their words wouldn’t be out of place at a Donald Trump rally. “Legal migration, yes – illegal invasions, no,” organizer Fidel Ernesto González Hernández told The San Diego Tribune. “That is our message.”
Between deeming many of them criminals and telling them to emigrate the “legal way,” they’re as unsympathetic as President Trump, who has also urged them to return to Central America. “The Mayor of Tijuana, Mexico, just stated that ‘the City is ill-prepared to handle this many migrants, the backlog could last six months,’ Trump tweeted Sunday morning. “Likewise, the US is ill-prepared for this invasion, and will not stand for it. They are causing crime and big problems in Mexico. Go home!”
Despite some urging protesters not to head to the shelters, they made their way to the temporary housing, where a police barricade held them off. When volunteers made their way to the shelters to donate supplies, protesters threw plastic bottles at them.
The protest comes after a recent viral video showed an angry group of Mexicans in Tijuana denouncing the immigrants. Similarly, they shouted “Mexico first” and “our safety comes first,” and they threatened to get physical with the asylum seekers.