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Mexico border city mayor declares humanitarian crisis amid influx of migrants

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The mayor of Tijuana declared a humanitarian crisis on Friday, asking the United Nations for aid to cover the roughly 5,000 Central American migrants who have come to the Mexican border city.

Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum had promised not to commit Tijuana’s public resources to handling the influx of migrants, prompting him to request aid formally from the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Associated Press reported.

{mosads}The city of Tijuana has been bringing in portable toilets and showers to the makeshift shelter at the city’s sports complex. 

The 4,976 men, women and children spent more than a month traveling in a caravan after fleeing poverty and violence in Honduras.

The city’s social services director, Manuel Figuero, said the city cannot keep up with their needs.

“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.

AP reported that officials in Mexico’s Baja California state government have identified 7,000 job openings to migrants who qualify.

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has offered to allow the migrants to stay and apply for asylum in the country instead of continuing north to the U.S.

An estimated 1,700 members of the caravan accepted the offer, but the rest have said they will keep traveling to the U.S. border. 

The Trump administration is reportedly planning to implement a new policy that would force migrants seeking asylum to wait in Mexico while their requests are being processed, a sharp break from current U.S. policy.

Asylum seekers would have to establish a “reasonable fear” of persecution in Mexico to be allowed to come to the U.S. while authorities review their asylum requests under the new policy, dubbed “Remain in Mexico,” according to a Department of Homeland Security memo obtained by The Washington Post. 

President Trump slammed the migrant caravan in the days leading up to the U.S. midterm elections earlier this month, referring to group as an “invasion.”

The president confirmed Thursday that he authorized the roughly 5,800 troops he sent to the southern born to use lethal force to stop migrants from entering the country, if necessary.

“If they have to, they’re going to use lethal force. I’ve — I’ve given the OK. If they have to. I hope they don’t have to,” he said on Thanksgiving, adding that he was open to the possibility of closing the entire border if necessary. 

Tags asylum seekers Central American migrant caravan Donald Trump Immigration Mexico Tijuana Trump administration immigration policy
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