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 who have arrived.
The comments by Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum came as city officials and volunteers worked together to assist the 4,976 men, women and children, most of whom were camped out at a makeshift shelter at a sports complex after spending 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.
Mayor Gastelum issued a statement saying that it was requesting help from the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The mayor also criticized the Mexican 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.
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.