Some migrants turning away from US border to go home

Latin America

Growing feelings of despair are being reported among the thousands of Central American migrants camped out on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The asylum seekers are faced with long waits and are now reconsidering asylum in Mexico or abandoning their dreams altogether and going home.

CGTN’s Alasdair Baverstock has their story.

Three days after a group of Central American migrants rushed the US border, hoping to make it to the other side, they’re back to a life in limbo in Tijuana. For some, the experience was enough to change their intentions completely.

Though he had fled terrible violence in Honduras, Jose Flores says his first ever experience with the United States convinced him that doesn’t want a second.

“An officer stood there in the middle of the street looking like Rambo, and BOOM. He launched a big gas bomb right into the middle of us and sent people running. It’s a shame to go, but I love my family a lot more than being here now. I’m very sick now as a result of it, and I can’t continue. I’m done,” said Jose Omar Flores a Honduran migrant.

On Tuesday, along with around 100 of his compatriots, Jose decided to return to Honduras, accepting the Mexican authorities’ offer of a flight back home. Others are piling into vans to drive back. Firm numbers are hard to come by, but hundreds if not thousands are believed ready to give up.

“They fired the gas bombs at us, and everyone went running, kids and women were fainting. We’ve never seen anything like that in our own country, but it seems like its normal here,” said Olwin Josue a Honduran migrant.

For those choosing to return, the incident was the final straw in what has been an exhausting journey.

“Many of us are sick with asthma, and you can’t sleep well. Food is scarce, and instead of us sending money to our families, they are sending money to us in order to eat, which is unfair. So I’m not going to risk my life to get somewhere where I have no one, when getting there is so dangerous, so I’d rather go home,” said Reina Elizabet Perez a Honduran migrant.

Migrants alongside Grupo Beta in the caravan. Amid this worsening humanitarian crisis, Mexico’s incoming foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard is set to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday in a search for common ground.

“It’s about controlling the migratory flows, giving options in their places of origin, promoting development and respecting the people’s rights. That’s the objective. When it comes to the United States, it’s the same theory, and we are trying to convince them to participate,” said Marcelo Ebrard the incoming Mexican Foreign Minister.

For the thousands of migrants who chose to remain in Tijuana, the hope is that the next US official they face will be an asylum judge, rather than a soldier.