TIJUANA, Mexico – Life in the Mexican border city of Tijuana has returned to normal on Wednesday, after the severe crisis at the end of last year and the beginning of 2019, which US President Donald Trump says continues because of the arrival of thousands of Central Americans seeking asylum in the United States.
Central American migrants have ceased to be the subject of speeches by municipal authorities, whose head, Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum, had come to describe them as “undesirable,” and the entertainment center El Alamar, previously converted into a shelter under the National Institute of Migration, no longer serves that purpose.
However, the migration authority announced in recent days that it would be used again, in case there are new migrant caravans arriving in Mexico and heading to Tijuana, something that has not happened so far.
Border residents, some of whom showed xenophobic behavior in the face of what they called the “Central American invasion,” also seem to have forgotten foreigners. It is estimated that there would be no more than 500 of them in the city now, almost all of them working with permission, according to the same migration authorities.
Only some groups without greater influence in the community have continued to speak about it sporadically, as seen on some social networks.
The hundreds of thousands of Tijuana residents who cross the border legally every week have once again saturated the two border crossings operating in this city, where one can see a few Mexican federal agents watching, which did not happen before the crisis, as well as a few more US Border Patrol staff on the other side.
Tijuana’s motorists in the numerous lanes on both sides of the border, in addition to the pedestrians who also make up long lines, have returned to their daily activities of shopping, studying, social work and others, no longer alarmed by the metal fences and large quantities of barbed wire installed by US border agents.
These barriers are already part of the panorama in the sentry boxes, despite the alarm and fear they caused, and very unlike “the good neighborhood” that has always prevailed here, especially because they arrived accompanied by more federal authorities of the neighboring country, including the US Army.
The border was also closed at times, which caused millions of economic losses in the areas of commerce, services and tourism on both sides of the border.
Residents also don’t know if US authorities are really returning Central American migrants to this city to await the resolution of their asylum applications, as announced, since only a couple of people who returned in this condition were reported by the media.
However, Trump reiterated on Tuesday his intention to build a wall on the border with Mexico “to end the crisis” in that area.
“In the past, most of the people in this room voted for a wall, but the proper wall never got built. I will get it built,” Trump said in his State of the Union address.
Trump said that “large organized caravans” of immigrants are marching to the US and warned that no issue better illustrates the divide between the working class and the US political class than “illegal immigration.”
In this regard, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador abstained on Wednesday from a reply. He said at a press conference that Trump has made accusations because he has to.
On Trump’s statements that Mexico and other nations allow the caravans of Central American migrants, he said that he respects this point of view of the US president, but Mexico will not start an argument.