The Mayor of Tijuana, Mexico called actions by some members of the migrant caravan that forced a brief closure of the San Ysidro Port of Entry on Sunday “criminal” and said it was unfair to Tijuana residents.
Citing an economic study, Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum said the hours-long closure cost his city 129 million pesos, or roughly $6.3 million, in revenue.
“That’s not fair for the people in Tijuana,” Mayor Gastélum said.
Gastélum said the actions of some migrants were also unfair to others among the caravan.
“Bad people, not the good people, some of them, not all of them, came in and [participated in this], walking disorderly, trying to cross the border without [the United States’] permission. I mean, that’s a criminal way of doing things,” he said.
Gastélum said that if he had a “magic wand,” he’d activate his own government and the governments of the migrants, and anyone else who could support the situation.
“This matter is not going to be fixed with one solution. It’s a big issue where a lot of corners have to be, let’s say sharpened,” he said.
Gastélum said it wasn’t his place to criticize members of the migrant caravan, but said if they don’t meet the United States’ requirements for asylum then they should either return to their home country or stay in Tijuana and try and make a decent living.
“Tijuana is a migrant city. We are not afraid of migrants,” he said.
But offering members of the caravan a chance at prospering in Tijuana is difficult. Gastélum says that according to the National Commission of Human Rights, the Mexican government would be violating migrants’ human rights by asking them if they’d like to make a life in Tijuana.
“If they would say that [they want to stay here], they haven’t asked for that. We don’t know who they are, we don’t have them registered. We can’t even ask them ‘What do you want to do?’ because according to the National Commission of Human Rights, that’s violating their rights,” the mayor said.
President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's government signaled Tuesday that it would be willing to house the migrants on Mexican soil while they apply for asylum in the United States.
United States Customs and Border Protection confirmed the arrest of 69 people who tried to enter the country illegally on Sunday. Others in the group that tried to rush the border wall retreated into Mexico after CBP officers fired tear gas at the crowds.