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A widely shared photo of a Honduran family fleeing the tear gas at the US border on Sunday A widely shared photo of a Honduran family fleeing the tear gas at the US border on Sunday. reuters

Migrants to be relocated from overcrowded sports complex in Tijuana

Federal government will rent a 9,000-square-meter event space for a new camp outside the city

The thousands of Central American migrants in Tijuana are to be relocated from the sports facility that is no longer big enough to accommodate them all.

Government authorities said the more than 6,000 people at the Benito Juárez sports complex will move to a 9,000-square-meter piece of land known as El Barretal that is often used to hold concerts and other public events.

It is located about 18 kilometers from the city of Tijuana in the Mariano Matamoros neighborhood.

Mario Osuna Jiménez, Tijuana’s social development secretary, explained that the location has five large covered areas that will provide better protection from the elements than the sports complex.

Baja California Interior Secretary Leopoldo Guerrero said the covered areas will be for women, children and people with health issues.

There is an open space where awnings will be set up for most of the men, he said.

The latter will be kept apart from women and children, Guerrero said, due to problems with drug use that have occurred in the current shelter, where there has also been a severe lice infestation and shortages of food and water.

One migrant said yesterday he ate his last meal two days before after waiting in line for several hours, and had been surviving since by begging snacks from convenience stores.

Alberto Muñoz said he and his brother plan to remain in Tijuana and work. “We’re not going to try to go again to the line,” he told The San Diego Union-Tribune. “They are not going to grant us asylum.”

The Tijuana government said the 6,151 people staying at the sports complex include 3,936 men, 1,147 women and 1,068 children.

The National Immigration Institute (INM) will be in charge of operating the new migrant camp. The federal government will rent the property for 100,000 pesos (US $4,900) a month.

Meanwhile, representatives of the migrants said this afternoon that several would stage a hunger strike outside the offices of the INM at the Chaparral border crossing. Their intention is to pressure the United States government into increasing the number of petitions for asylum that it will accept each day from 40 to 50.

Source: Milenio (sp), La Jornada (sp), San Diego Union Tribune (en)

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