More than 500 criminals are among the migrants that are now at the United States border after traveling from Central America, American officials said.
Thousands of migrants have flooded into Tijuana in recent days with thousands more expected to arrive soon, leading to clashes with locals in the border city.
Officials with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said on Nov. 19 that more than 500 criminals are among the asylum-seekers.
Officials also said that most of the migrants are fighting age males and that women and children are often pushed to the front to garner sympathetic media coverage. Officials previously said around 75 percent of the main caravan was composed of males.
“Most of the caravan members are not women and children,” officials said in a conference call, referring to migrants already at the border, reported Fox News.
Officials said 6,000 migrants are in Tijuana as of Monday and thousands more are expected to arrive soon. “All legal options are on the table and we have been negotiating with all our partners in Central America with ways to deal with the caravan,” officials said.
The three migrant caravans were estimated to have up to 10,000 migrants among them but some of those have already entered Tijuana. It’s not clear how many remain who haven’t reached the city.
DHS said in early November that more than 270 members of the caravans were confirmed to have criminal histories, including known gang membership. “Those include a number of violent criminals—examples include aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, armed robbery, sexual assault on a child, and assault on a female,” the department said on Nov. 1. Two of the migrants were arrested by Mexican officers in late October, identified as fugitives wanted for murder and drug trafficking, and deported.
The background of the migrants has been questioned by local residents in Tijuana, some of whom have referred to what is happening as an “invasion.”
Juana Rodriguez, a housewife, told The Associated Press that the government needs to conduct background checks on the migrants to make sure they don’t have criminal records.
Elvia Villegas, another local, told The Epoch Times that Mexican officials should take a page from U.S. President Donald Trump’s book and defend their borders. She also believes Mexico should deport the migrants.
“They come to offend the Tijuanans and we won’t permit it. I am from Tijuana, I have children from Tijuana, and I am going to defend Tijuana,” she said.
Another resident, Guadalupe Arangure, noted that the migrants already used violence to cross into Mexico, in clashes that left police officers in Mexico and Guatemala injured.
“Don’t get it twisted—this is an invasion,” he said. “Once you cross the borders, once you went through those borders with violence it became an invasion.”