Tijuana Declares 'Humanitarian Crisis,' Seeks Help From UN - NBC Connecticut
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

    The new way doctors are treating cleft lip and palate
    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.

    Trump Denies Bombshell Russia Reports From NYT, Post

    [NATL] Trump Denies Bombshell Russia Reports From NYT, Washington Post

    President Donald Trump responded to accusations of Russian collusion in two separate bombshell reports from the New York Times and the Washington Post. Trump denied that he fired former FBI Director James Comey to advance Russian interests and a Post report that he hid conversations he had with Vladimir Putin.

    (Published Monday, Jan. 14, 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.

    Judge Blocks Trump Birth Control Coverage Rules in 13 States

    [NATL-PHI] Judge Blocks Trump Birth Control Coverage Rules in Delaware, Other States

    A Trump Administration rule that would allow more employers to opt out of covering birth control from women will not take effect on Monday as scheduled. The rules would let employers claim exemption for religious or moral reasons. Delaware is one of the 13 states that sued to have the rule stopped.

    (Published Monday, Jan. 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.

    Trump Visits Southern Border to Make Case for a Border Wall

    [NATL] Trump Visits Southern Border to Make Case for a Border Wall

    President Donald Trump flew to Texas Thursday to tour the southern border and make the case for his proposed border wall. This comes as the federal government entered its 20th day of a partial shutdown. President Trump has refused to sign any bill that doesn’t include $5.7 billion in funding for the border wall.

    (Published Thursday, Jan. 10, 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.

    Federal Workers Juggling Shutdown Stress

    [NATL-DC] Federal Workers Juggling Shutdown Stress

    "I just go to the gym and juggle. Just a way to escape everything," Barry Goldmeier said. He's one of thousands of government employees furloughed during the shutdown. News4's Shomari Stone spoke to a therapist about other ways furloughed workers can cope with the stress.

    (Published Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019)