Mexico border city mayor declares humanitarian crisis over migrants

WASHINGTON/BUENOS AIRES: The mayor of Tijuana, Mexico, has declared a “humanitarian emergency” among the thousands of migrants who have arrived in the border city.
Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum said the city cannot handle the expense of harbouring more than 4,700 migrants from Central America in a football stadium.
“I will not spend the money of the inhabitants of Tijuana,” said Gastelum.
Meals for migrants cost 550,000 pesos per day ($27,000). More than 700 civil servants have been deployed to assist, according to the city government.
The migrants, who come primarily from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, have travelled mostly on foot across Mexico, are hoping for a chance to claim political asylum in the United States.
Tensions in Tijuana rose when police attempted to make an arrest for alleged marijuana use. A young man was arrested after a police officer was injured by a stone thrown at him.
Police have arrested 109 of the migrants for alleged minor offences since their caravan arrived in Tijuana, a city in north-western Baja California across from the US city of San Ysidro, California.
Seventy-one of the migrants have been returned to their home countries, the newspaper Excelsior reported.
Thousands more Central Americans who are fleeing violence and poverty in their home countries are en route to the US border despite President Donald Trump’s vow not to allow them in.
Trump has sent US troops to provide support to border guards and has threatened to close the border if the situation gets out of control.
The White House had no immediate comment on reports that the Trump administration and
the incoming Mexican government are discussing a plan that would require asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico while their claims are processed.
The US won the support of Mexico on the plan, known as Remain in Mexico, according to the Washington Post, which quoted unidentified Mexican officials and senior
members of president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s transition team. Lopez Obrador is to be inaugurated on December 1.
— dpa