Tijuana mayor declares ‘humanitarian crisis’ over caravan migrants
Juan Manuel Gastelum said the Mexican government has provided little assistance for 5,000 Central American migrants who have arrived.
The mayor of Tijuana has declared a humanitarian crisis in his border city and said he has asked the UN for aid to deal with about 5,000 Central American migrants who have arrived.
Juan Manuel Gastelum said the Mexican government has provided little assistance and he is not going to commit the city’s public resources to dealing with the situation.
He said 4,976 migrants have arrived in the city.
“We don’t have sufficient and necessary infrastructure to adequately attend to these people, to give them a decent space,” he said on Grupo Formula radio.
On Thursday, his government issued a statement saying it was requesting help from the UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
“I am not going to spend the money of Tijuana (citizens),” Mr Gasteulum said in the statement.
For the most part, the migrant caravan that left Honduras in mid-October was well received by the towns it passed through along the way to the border. Even cities with few resources made sure the migrants had food and a place to rest.
But in those places, the caravan stayed at most two nights — with the exception of Mexico City. In Tijuana, many of the migrants, who are fleeing violence and poverty, want to request asylum in the US and face the prospect of spending months in the border city before they have the opportunity to speak with a US official.
Mr Gastelum said on Friday that the Mexican government has talked about sending 20 tons of resources to Tijuana to help, but that three-quarters consisted of materials to reinforce the border and only five tons were materials to help the migrants.
Most of the migrants are staying at a makeshift shelter at a sports stadium in the city.
There are a lot of CRIMINALS in the Caravan. We will stop them. Catch and Detain! Judicial Activism, by people who know nothing about security and the safety of our citizens, is putting our country in great danger. Not good!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2018
Mr Gastelum also criticised the federal government for not taking more seriously US President Donald Trump’s threat on Thursday to shut down the entire border if things get out of control in Tijuana.
“That’s serious,” he said.
Referring to a protest by a small group of migrants who marched to a border crossing on Thursday, Mr Gastelum said such demonstrations will not help.
“Thousands of people from Tijuana work in the United States, they arrive late to their jobs,” he said.
“From the United States the tourism isn’t coming here. The people aren’t coming to the medical sector. The situation is becoming uncomfortable.”