Tijuana Mayor Declares Humanitarian Crisis, Slams Mexico's Federal Gov't for 'Categorically' Failing His City

Monica Sanchez | November 23, 2018

Tijuana’s mayor has declared a humanitarian crisis as thousands of migrants have arrived in his city and are taking a toll on public resources.

Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum in a press conference Thursday criticized Mexico's federal government for “categorically” failing their "legal obligations" in providing aid for the more than 5,000 migrants who arrived to the border city via caravan, according to the Arizona Republic. He is now asking for international support.

“They have categorically omitted and not complied with their legal obligations,” said Gastelum. “So we’re now asking them and international humanitarian aid groups to bring in and carry out humanitarian assistance.”

The Tijuana mayor vowed not to bankrupt his city over the migrant caravan’s arrival, saying he “will not spend Tijuanans’ money" and "will not bring Tijuana into debt now, in the same way, we haven’t done so these past two years.”

This comes as tensions continue to rise between migrants and local residents amid strained public resources.

The Arizona Republic reports,

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 sports complex converted into a makeshift shelter, but well over capacity since the start of the week. 

There is also growing uncertainty over how long migrants will have to wait for their asylum claims to be heard.

It has been estimated that the migrants may have to wait as many as six months for their asylum claims to be processed.