Migrants in Tijuana. Migrants in Tijuana.

A migration crisis in Baja, says governor

State overwhelmed by Haitians and others seeking asylum in US

The seemingly unending flow of migrants from Haiti and African countries threatens to bring chaos to the border city of Tijuana, Baja California.

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State Governor Francisco Vega stated this week that the constant arrival of migrants is all but overrunning authorities’ capabilities.

“I have to say that this is a situation that is becoming overwhelming. Just in the last two weeks a large group of people from Haiti arrived, at the same time that the United States reduced the number of interviews for asylum,” said Vega.

“I consider this a migration crisis; shelters are at full capacity and improvised ones are being set up . . .  and the people running them are getting tired.”

The governor pointed out that migrants have to wait for about two months before they can meet with U.S. authorities to request asylum.

The state has allocated 35 million pesos (US $1.7 million) to assist migrants, said the Government Secretary, and most of that money has come out of the health budget.

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“There have been around 20,000 foreign citizens [arrive] since May, of which 16,000 have already crossed and some 4,000 or 5,000 are still here. [The number] varies because some of the migrants travel to Nogales, Sonora or Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua,” explained Francisco Rueda.

The federal Secretary of Social Development, Luis Enrique Miranda, said that coordination by the three levels of government has managed to keep the migrants off the streets and well fed, while overcrowding of shelters has been kept to a minimum.

Miranda didn’t say what Vega was hoping to hear: that more federal financial support would be forthcoming.

The governor said he would meet with his counterparts from all northern border states — Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas — to discuss the challenges and opportunities created by their proximity to the United States.

Source: Reforma (sp)

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