Tijuana Declares 'Humanitarian Crisis,' Seeks Help From UN - NBC 7 San Diego
Immigration in America

Immigration in America

Full coverage of immigration issues in the U.S.

Tijuana Declares 'Humanitarian Crisis,' Seeks Help From UN

On Thursday, the government issued a statement saying that it was requesting help from the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Tijuana Declares 'Humanitarian Crisis,' Seeks Help From UN
    AP Photo/Marco Ugarte
    Central American migrants sweep outside the shelter where they are staying in Tijuana, Mexico, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. Protesters accused the migrants of being messy, ungrateful and a danger to Tijuana; complained about how the caravan forced its way into Mexico, calling it an "invasion," and voiced worries that their taxes might be spent to care for the group as they wait possibly months to apply for U.S. asylum.

    The mayor of Tijuana has declared a humanitarian crisis in his border city and said Friday he was asking the United Nations for aid to deal with the approximately 5,000 Central American migrants, most of whom were camped out inside a sports complex.

    The comments by Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum came as city officials and volunteers worked together to assist the 4,976 men, women and children who had arrived after more than a month on the road. The Trump administration has spent weeks lambasting the caravan, which it said was filled with criminals, gang members and even — it insinuated at one point without any proof — terrorists.

    Manuel Figueroa, who leads the city's social services department, said Tijuana was bringing in portable toilets and showers, as well as shampoo and soap.

    It wasn't enough.

    Ala. Lawmakers Pass Bill Banning Virtually All Abortions

    [NATL] Ala. Lawmakers Pass Bill Banning Virtually All Abortions

    Alabama lawmakers have approved a bill banning virtually all abortions, including for women impregnated via rape or incest, making the act a felony at any stage of pregnancy with no exceptions. The bill now heads to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey to sign.

    (Published Wednesday, May 15, 2019)

    "Because of the absence, the apathy and the abandonment of the federal government, we are having to turn to international institutions like the U.N.," Figueroa said.

    Rene Vazquez, 60, a Tijuana resident who was volunteering at the stadium, said Mexico's federal government ignored the problem by allowing the caravan to cross the country without stopping. Now the city of 1.6 million is stuck with the fallout.

    "I don't have anything against the migrants, they were the most deceived, but this is affecting us all," Vazquez said.

    Gastelum vowed not to commit the city's public resources to dealing with the situation. On Thursday, his government issued a statement saying that it was requesting help from the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

    Vazquez, who plays on a soccer team that uses the sports complex, said Mexico should step up now and process humanitarian visas for the group so they can start looking for work. Meanwhile, since his soccer team can no longer practice at the complex, he was spending time passing out donated pizzas and roasted chicken to the migrants.

    The migrant caravan that left Honduras in mid-October was mostly well received by the towns it passed through along the way to the border. Even cities with few resources made sure the migrants had food and a place to rest.

    'Tonight': Buttigieg on His 2020 Campaign, 'GoT' Predictions

    [NATL] 'Tonight': Mayor Pete Buttigieg Discusses His 2020 Campaign and 'Game of Thrones' Predictions

    South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg explains how he tracked down Jerry Seinfeld to make him accept a key to the city, reacts to Trump's nickname for him, breaks down his 2020 campaign platform and shares his analysis about who will claim the Iron Throne in "Game of Thrones."

    (Published Tuesday, May 14, 2019)

    But in those places, the caravan stayed at most two nights — with the exception of Mexico City. In Tijuana, many of the migrants who are fleeing violence and poverty are seeking asylum in the United States and face the prospect of spending months in the border city before they have the opportunity to speak with a U.S. official.

    Gastelum said Friday that the Mexican government has talked about sending 20 tons of resources to Tijuana to help but that three-fourths consisted of materials to reinforce the border and only 5 tons were for the migrants.

    The mayor also criticized the federal government for not taking more seriously President Donald Trump's threat Thursday to shut down the border if his administration determined Mexico had lost "control" of the situation in Tijuana.

    "That's serious," he said.

    The migrants also were receiving support from local churches, private citizens who have been providing food, as well as various agencies of the Baja California state government, which says it identified 7,000 job openings for those who qualify.

    Adelaida Gonzalez, 37, of Guatemala City arrived in Tijuana three days ago and was having a hard time adjusting. She was tired of sleeping on a blanket on a dirt field, of waiting 30 minutes to go to the bathroom and again to get food and didn't know how much more she could take.

    A Look at How Tariffs Could Affect Prices in US

    [NATL] A Look at How Tariffs Could Affect Prices in US

    As the United States and China continue to engage in a trade war, here are some ways U.S. consumers could be affected.

    (Published Monday, May 13, 2019)

    "We would not have risked coming if we had known it was going to be this hard," said Gonzales, who left Guatemala with her 15-year-old son and her neighbor.

    She said she was considering accepting Mexico's offer to stay and work in Chiapas as a refugee.

    Some of the migrants staged a small demonstration at the city's Chaparral border crossing Thursday, and a few dozen spent the night there. Police cordoned off the streets around the crossing tangling traffic, but pedestrian traffic across the border continued uninterrupted Friday.

    Alicia Ramirez, 65, a Tijuana businesswoman, said she had been worried she wouldn't be able to make her annual Black Friday crossing to do her Christmas shopping, but had no trouble walking into California. About a dozen Mexican police stood by the crossing carrying plastic shields.

    Still, the threat of a border closure kept her daughters in Los Angeles from coming to see her for the holidays.

    "My daughters were worried, so they decided not to come," she said.

    A Timeline of WikiLeaks' Julian Assange's Time in Self-Exile

    [NATL]A Timeline of WikiLeaks' Julian Assange's Time in Self-Exile

    WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange had spent up to six years in self-imposed exile at the Ecuadorean embassy in London until he was forcibly carried out and arrested by British police. These were the events that led up to it.

    (Published Monday, May 13, 2019)