Tijuana Mayor Declares Humanitarian Crisis — Slams Mexican Federal Response

Central American migrants wanting to reach the United States, rest at a temporary shelter in Tijuana, Baja California State, Mexico, near the US-Mexico border fence, on November 23, 2018. - After a trek of more than a month from Honduras, nearly 5,000 migrants have been living in a makeshift shelter …
Photo: GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images

The mayor of the Mexican border city of Tijuana declared a humanitarian crisis on Thursday and slammed his federal government’s response. The mayor said the government failed to provide adequate aid for the migrant caravan that flooded into the beleaguered city as reported. by local media.

Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum Buenrostro declared a humanitarian crisis in response to the more than 5,000 migrants who arrived in the city as part of the caravan attempting to seek asylum in the United States, according to local media reports. Additional migrants are expected to arrive daily.

“I am not going to compromise Tijuana’s public services,” said Mayor Gastélum Buenrostro. The mayor vowed not to bankrupt his city to care for the thousands of migrants. The mayor called on international groups like the United Nations to assist with the migrant crisis in the absence of a response from the federal government of Mexico.

The declaration of a humanitarian crisis by the mayor came on the same day that a group of approximately 150-200 migrants broke free from the larger group and began to march to El Chaparral vehicle border crossing. The group intended on requesting asylum upon reaching the U.S. border as reported by local media. This group, which had been primarily housed at the Unidad Deportiva Benito Juarez sports complex, was stopped by federal police on the bridge approximately 500 feet from the U.S. border. Officials converted the sports complex to a temporary shelter. The group then peacefully voiced their complaints and returned back to the makeshift shelter which is now at full capacity.

Tijuana mayor Gastélum Buenrostro has been sharply criticized by the local media and, at the same time,  praised by citizens of Tijuana on social media for his hardline approach in handling the migrant crisis. According to local media reports, the mayor was observed wearing a red hat that read, “Make Tijuana Great Again” — a reference to President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign slogan.

Meanwhile, government authorities in nearby Mexicali announced that 15 buses escorted by federal police arrived between late Wednesday and early Thursday morning. The convoy arrived with a total of 750 migrants of primarily from Honduras as reported by local media. On early Friday morning, an additional 400 migrants arrived in Mexicali. Media reports indicate that 300 migrants decided to leave Mexicali on foot and head towards Tijuana which is approximately 113 miles to the west.

Breitbart News reported on the movement of the caravan through Mexico into Tijuana and the arrival of additional caravans. Approximately one week ago, Breitbart Texas reported on Mexican protesters who took to the streets to protest the growing influx of Central American migrants who arrived in the border city of Tijuana.

Robert Arce is a retired Phoenix Police detective with extensive experience working Mexican organized crime and street gangs. Arce has worked in the Balkans, Iraq, Haiti, and recently completed a three-year assignment in Monterrey, Mexico, working out of the Consulate for the United States Department of State, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Program, where he was the Regional Program Manager for Northeast Mexico (Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Durango, San Luis Potosi, Zacatecas.) You can follow him on Twitter. He can be reached at robertrarce@gmail.com

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