Tijuana Mayor: 'No City in the World Is Prepared' for This

Migrant caravan influx expected to last months
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 17, 2018 9:20 AM CST
Tijuana mayor: 'It Is a Tsunami'
A US Border Patrol agent looks through concertina wire during a tour of the San Ysidro port of entry Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, in San Diego.   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

With about 3,000 Central American migrants having reached the Mexican border across from California and thousands more anticipated, the mayor of Tijuana said Friday that the city was preparing for an influx that will last at least six months and may have no end in sight, the AP reports. Juan Manuel Gastelum says there are 2,750 migrants from the caravan in Tijuana and that estimates by Mexico's federal government indicate the number could approach 10,000. "No city in the world is prepared to receive this—if I'm allowed—this avalanche," he says during a news conference at City Hall. "It is a tsunami. There is concern among all citizens of Tijuana." US border inspectors are processing only about 100 asylum claims a day at Tijuana's main crossing to San Diego, creating long waits.

Asylum seekers register their names in a tattered notebook managed by migrants themselves that had more than 3,000 names even before the caravan arrived. Along the nearly 3,000 miles from the caravan's origin in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, to this city on the Pacific Ocean, the migrants have stopped in most places for only a single night, with some exceptions. That overwhelmed small towns in southern Mexico in particular—but only briefly. The migrants' expected long stay in Tijuana has raised concerns about the ability of the teeming border city of more than 1.6 million to handle the influx. Meanwhile, the AP notes that most US troops are in Texas and aren't allowed to carry out law enforcement duties, so migrants in Tijuana are unlikely to see them. (But troops have installed barbed wire and barricades.)

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