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With Thousands of Migrants Pouring In, Tijuana Declares Humanitarian Crisis

2018-11-23 20:06
Hundreds of Central American migrants in Mexico massed on Thursday (November 22) around a tense U.S. border crossing, where security measures held up long lines of Mexicans headed to Thanksgiving gatherings on the other side of the frontier. Earlier on Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump said he had authorized the use of lethal force on the border and warned that the United States could close the whole frontier. The San Ysidro vehicular crossing into San Diego, one of the busiest in the world, was briefly shuttered in the afternoon by U.S. officials as they performed a security exercise. Migrants, many with children in tow, have been camping at a baseball field in the Mexican border city of Tijuana. Around 6,000 migrants who have trekked across Mexico in a caravan in recent weeks are now crammed into the field. They gather at the Chaparral border crossing, opposite San Diego, California, every day and have said they would wait there until they could request asylum, in spite of growing U.S. measures to tighten the border. Authorities in Tijuana said the migrants are facing up to a six-month wait to be able to get an appointment to plead their case for asylum with U.S. authorities. Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum, asked for help from Mexico's Interior Ministry and the UN to deal with what he has called a growing "humanitarian crisis" over influx of Central American migrants. Earlier this week, U.S. officials briefly closed the main border crossing in Tijuana, putting up concrete barricades and razor wire after reports that migrants could try to rush the crossing.