TIJUANA – Tijuana has asked the Mexican federal government for $4 million so the city could accommodate thousands of migrants who part of a caravan that for the past month has been making its way to the border.
Almost 2,000 members of the migrant caravan have already descended on this border city – about 5,000 more are expected to arrive in the coming days.
Tijuana has 700 shelter beds that are already full. So a municipal sports complex has turned into a tent city, with shivering migrants hunkering down in tents and sleeping on cots as they wait to determine their next steps.
About 1,000 migrants are sharing one bathroom.
U.S. border agents patrolled the area in helicopters and ATVs while contractors welded razor-wire to the border fence to make sure no one tries to illegal cross into the U.S.
The request for funds from the government comes as tensions between the migrants and local Mexicans has grown tense. On Wednesday, a fight broke out as Mexicans yelled at the migrants: “Go home. We don’t want you here!” Members of the caravan said local police made no attempt to break up the fight.
After pledging to stay together for safety, many exhausted migrants, who spent weeks marching in blazing temperatures, raced ahead in cars or buses, leaving behind thousands of others who were waiting for transportation.
Border agents say they are ready for the mass asylum requests, which could take six months to process.
“We’ve been getting ready before this happened,” Rodney Scott, chief patrol agent of the Border Patrol's San Diego sector, told Fox & Friends. “We have shifted several hundred border patrol areas to here. We will not let people mass across the border here in San Diego.”
While the border is not closed, U.S. officials said members of the caravan are expected to get in line – just like everyone else. It’s unclear right now how long it will take to process thousands of migrants expected to try and cross the border in the coming weeks.
"We will not deny access to the ports of entry,” said Pete Flores, U.S. Customs and Border Protection field office director. “But we may ask undocumented persons to wait until we have the capacity to process them.”