TIJUANA, Mexico – After declaring the migrant caravan a “humanitarian crisis” this week, Mayor Juan Manuel Gastélum told Fox News that he can no longer continue to fund the municipal effort to shelter them without federal assistance.
“I’m not going to break public services to solve this problem,” the Tijuana mayor said.
Even worse, he could be forced to raise taxes on Tijuana’s 1.7 million residents who have already suffered from Sunday’s clashes.
“In those six hours that the border was closed, we lost approximately 129 million pesos,” he said. “That's not fair. How do you think people from Tijuana feel towards those people who are making problems?”
Meanwhile, conditions for the migrants in the tent city encampment worsened overnight with heavy winds and rain – flooding overcrowded spaces, leaving wet clothes, sleeping bags and litter strewn about an unsanitary and inhumane existence.
Efforts were underway to move some of them to a new location because of reports that more migrants were making their way to Tijuana.
Mayor Gastélum blames the organizers for whom he cannot identify. He said they should be held accountable. He said the leaders of the caravan should face criminal charges.
“Those are the real criminals because they're dealing with the lives of people,” he says.
Hope now rests on a new Mexican administration when Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador takes office as Mexico’s new president on Saturday.
Gastélum has a message for the incoming president.
“It's problem he must solve," he said, "as soon as he gets into office.”