After almost 3,000 Central American migrants travelling through Mexico in a bid to make their way to the U.S. flooded the Mexican border city of Tijuana, hundreds of locals took to the streets to protest the arrival of the caravan.
Waving Mexican flags, the demonstrators climbed onto the monument to the last Aztec ruler Cuauhtemoc shouting "Mexico, Mexico!" and "Tijuana, Tijuana!" as well as slogans calling for "defending" the country and the city in the face of the Central American influx. More bands of migrants are making their way toward Tijuana, with around 10,000 expected.
Juana Rodriguez, a housewife, said the government needs to conduct background checks on the migrants to make sure they don't have criminal records.
Residents called the thousands of US bound migrants invaders.
Trump has repeatedly emphasised that the caravans included gang members that pose a threat to USA national security.
Alden Rivera, the Honduran ambassador in Mexico, told the AP on Saturday that 1,800 Hondurans have returned to their country since the caravan first set out on October 13, and that he hopes more will make that decision. Per capita income hovers around $120 a month in Honduras, where the World Bank says two out of three people live in poverty.
As they wound north through Mexico, the migrants were helped along by local authorities and residents who offered food, clothing and even free rides on daily treks that averaged 30 miles a day, much of it on foot. Some of the Central Americans now clustered in the city's streets and migrant shelters were unsure what the future held.
They say they plan to wait there to apply for political asylum in the USA which could take months. Gastelum has appealed to the federal government for more assistance to cope with the influx. Others are opting to stay in Mexico, which is processing 2,600 asylum requests from migrants in the caravan, the government said on Thursday. The city's privately run shelters have a maximum capacity of 700.
At the municipal shelter, Josue Caseres, 24, expressed dismay at the protests against the caravan.
"We only want to be here awhile, until we can get into the United States to work", said Navarro, of Choloma, Honduras. "We can not starve as we wait to find out if they'll give us asylum".
About 6,000 Central Americans have reached the border cities of Tijuana and Mexicali, according to local officials.
Edwin Alexander Gomez, 20, told AP in San Salvador that he wants to work construction in NY, where he hears the wages are better and the city is safer.
Trump used Twitter on Sunday to voice support for the mayor.
Numerous demonstrators echoed the same sentiments: namely, that they didn't mind migrants coming to Mexico, but they wanted them to come legally, behave properly, and - above all - to prevent gang members and criminals from being among them. It is now Catch and Detain.