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Aerial view of temporary housing for Central American migrants now in Tijuana in the Mexican state of Baja California Aerial view of temporary housing for Central American migrants now in Tijuana in the Mexican state of Baja California  (AFP or licensors)

Mexico seeks to stem migrant flow with development plan

Thousands of migrants camping in Tijuana face tough decisions regarding their future as they begin to realize their stay in Mexico may be indefinite.

By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp

Mexico continues grappling with the rapid influx of Central American migrants. 5,000 are camped temporarily in a sports complex in Tijuana just miles south of the US border. These migrants face tough decisions as their stay in Mexico may be indefinite.

Mexico offers help

The cost of housing and providing food to these migrants is a concern for the Mexican government. On Tuesday, Mexico’s President-Elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, indicated his willingness to house the migrants in Mexico as they go through the legal application process requesting asylum in the US.

Seeking asylum in the US

No estimates can be made regarding the amount of time migrants will have to wait for this process. In a press conference on Tuesday, Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico’s incoming foreign minister, said “US border inspectors are processing fewer than 100 asylum claims a day at Tijuana’s main crossing to San Diego”.

Developing Central America

Ebrard announced that Mexico is proposing development projects in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras including job creation so as to stem the tide of migrants. “It is like the Marshal Plan,” Ebrard said, “in terms of the size of the effort that is needed”. He also said that a key goal for the Mexican government is to secure US aid. The initial request from the US is 20 billion USD. That figure approximately matches the amount Mexico will be investing on its own territory.

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Migrants make tough decisions

Many of the migrants themselves are exploring their options. Morale is down after a number of their fellow migrants face deportation after attempting to cross the US border on Sunday. Those who decide to return home are receiving assistance from the Mexican Internal Organization for Migration. Others are deciding to stay in Mexico. Inquiries are rising at a job fair in Baja California that matches migrants with area job openings

28 November 2018, 14:44