Tijuana Mayor Declares Crisis At Border; DHS Warns Of Criminals, Gang Members Among Caravan
24 November, 2018
The mayor of Tijuana declared an international humanitarian crisis on Thursday following the arrival of more than 6,200 mostly Central American migrants - with more on the way.
During a press conference, Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum called on the United Nations and other international groups to step in and assist with the massive influx of migrants, reports AZ Central. Up to 10,000 migrants could eventually end up in Tijuana, according to the federal government.
For now, the majority of caravan members who have arrived in Tijuana are camped out on a dirt baseball field at an outdoor sports arena and underneath bleachers. The city opened the complex after their other shelters reached capacity, while church groups have chipped in to provide portable showers, bathrooms and sinks. Local businesses, meanwhile, have complained of migrants panhandling and stealing.
"They have categorically omitted and not complied with their legal obligations," said Gastélum of aid organizations, adding "So we're now asking them and international humanitarian aid groups to bring in and carry out humanitarian assistance."
The municipal government estimated it has spent nearly $27,000 daily to house and care for the nearly 4,700 migrants currently in the city. They are housed mostly in the Unidad Deportiva Benito Juarez, a sport complex converted into a makeshift shelter, but well over capacity since the start of the week. -AZ Central
Meanwhile, a small group of around 500 of the migrants "slowly and peacefully pushed within 500 feet of the US border" on Thursday, pressing against armed Mexican federal police near the US-Mexico pedestrian crossing, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
Asking for more humane conditions in the overflowing Benito Juarez shelter and trying to present themselves to United States immigration authorities for asylum, the group carried white flags as they marched from the migrant camp to the foot of the U.S. pedestrian bridge, a distance of about five city blocks.
“There are sick children here, and we are cold and hungry,” said Carlos Lopez, a Honduran who was leading the group. Lopez added it was inappropriate to shelter the women and children outside. “The whole world is watching what is happening here.” -San Diego Union Tribune
The Department of Homeland Security on Monday estimated that there are around 500 criminals traveling in the caravan.
Paloma Zuniga, a dual Mexican-American citizen who has more than 32,000 followers on a Facebook page called “Paloma for Trump” said she is worried about public safety in Tijuana because some in the group are traveling without ID’s. -San Diego Union Tribune
Trump threatened to pull all aid and funding from Honduras if its government does not halt the migrant caravan, and has pressured the Mexican government to stop the migrants from crossing into the United States.
On Tuesday, White House chief of staff John Kelly reportedly signed a "Cabinet order" which allows US troops stationed at the border permission to act in a law enforcement capacity, including the use of lethal force, if necessary