Caravanners Get Bad News from Tijuana Gov't: Rain Is Coming & We're Not Paying To Keep You Dry


Tijuana may not be the first place that springs to mind when somebody mentions the word “conservative,” but the Mexican border city is looking surprisingly right-thinking these days.

That city, of course, has become the centerpiece of the immigration debate over the last few weeks. After thousands of Central American migrants arrived via caravan, they were met with staunch border enforcement to the north and growing frustration from Mexican citizens all around them.

Now, the mayor of Tijuana is issuing a stern warning to the migrants camped throughout his city: Time — and money — is running out.

“Tijuana’s mayor said the city has only enough resources to support the Central American migrant caravan for two more days and beyond that, there is no guarantee of support,” explained The San Diego Union Tribune.

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Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum, who was recently spotted wearing a “Make Tijuana Great Again” hat, made it clear that once that money is gone, having local citizens pay for the caravan isn’t an option.

“We won’t compromise the resources of the residents of Tijuana,” Gastelum said. “We won’t raise taxes tomorrow to pay for today’s problem.”

Those resources don’t come cheap. Ricardo Chavarria, the treasurer of Tijuana, estimated that the city has paid 600,000 pesos — about $30,000 — every day supporting the migrant caravan.

That number is even more dramatic when you remember that the minimum wage in Mexico is about four dollars per day, and the median income is under $1,000 a month.

“We will decide what to do when we get there,” Mayor Gastelum added regarding what happens when the cash runs dry.

Dry is something the caravan members probably won’t be soon, at least according to the weather report. Rain is expected in the area late in the week, and Gastelum told The Union Tribune that there just isn’t enough money to provide tarps to shield the masses from the elements.

“The majority of the caravan members in Tijuana sleep in an outdoor sports complex in the city’s Zona Norte neighborhood,” the newspaper stated.

“As more migrants arrive daily, space inside the makeshift shelter gets more crowded each day. There are more than 5,800 in the shelter as of Monday night,” continued The Union Tribune.

The interesting aspect to all this is how quickly previously anti-Trump voices in Mexico have started to sound exactly like him. In a country where the 45th president’s name is used a bit like a curse word, this would have been unimaginable a year ago.

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Yet from the shift in attitude taking place among many people there regarding the caravan, to a very fiscally conservative tone now coming from leaders, the Mexican winds definitely seem to be shifting.

In a way, it makes perfect sense. Conservatism is the result of taking a hard look at reality and being honest about how the world works. Mexico, and especially Tijuana, has been hit with entire caravans of reality over the last few weeks … and is finally coming to the conservative conclusion that money isn’t magic.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.