A splinter group from the migrant caravans camped out on the U.S.-Mexico border has offered the U.S. a deal: Pay them $50,000 each and they’ll go back home.
Several San Diego news outlets have reported that dozens of people presented the offer to the U.S. consulate in Tijuana on Tuesday.
“It may seem like a lot of money to you,” organizer Alfonso Guerrero Ulloa told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “But it is a small sum compared to everything the United States has stolen from Honduras.”
Another group of migrants also made the trek to the consulate to present a different demand, asking that U.S. officials speed up the processing of people demanding asylum at the ports of entry.
Homeland Security officials said the $50,000 demand put the lie to claims that caravan members are legitimate asylum-seekers.
“Economic opportunity or rejoining family is not a basis for asylum under any system,” a department spokeswoman said.
“Secretary (Kirstjen) Nielsen has made clear that being a member of a caravan does not give them special rights for entry into this country and now it looks like some of these migrants understand that the Trump administration’s commitment to enforcing the rule of law, and their own likely lack of a legitimate claim of asylum, means they should return home,” the spokeswoman said.
Mr. Guerrero, the organizer of the $50,000 demand, has a checkered history. The U.S. has labeled him a “terrorist” after he was suspected in a bombing that wounded six U.S. soldiers at a Chinese restaurant in Honduras, according to a 1987 story in The New York Times.
Mexico called him a “freedom fighter” and granted him asylum in their country. The U.S. protested that grant.
The Union-Tribune reported that Mr. Guerrero denies the allegations of being involved in the bombing. He has been living outside of Honduras for the last three decades.
A Facebook page in the name of Alfonso Gurrero Ulloa lists his favorite quote as one from the late Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro: “Why should some be miserably poor, so that others can be hugely rich?”