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News > Mexico

Mexico: Tijuana Mayor to Be Sued for Promoting Xenophobia

  • Human rights lawyers say the mayor has incited xenophobia in Tijuana in reaction to the migrant caravan.

    Human rights lawyers say the mayor has incited xenophobia in Tijuana in reaction to the migrant caravan. | Photo: Reuters

Published 1 December 2018

Human rights groups say they will denounce the mayor for comments against the migrants who are taking shelter in the town as they await U.S. entry.

The Collective in Defense of Migrants and Human Rights (CDMHR) announced they will sue Juan Manuel Gastelum Buenrostro, Mayor of Tijuana, for encouraging the rejection of the Central American migrants currently residing in temporary shelters in the port town.

Tijuana: Flooding Forces Relocation of Thousands of Migrants

Jose Luis Perez Canchola, an attorney with Baja California of Human Rights and member of the CDMHR group, said that the lawsuit will be presented Monday in front of the State Council for Prevention and Discrimination and the National Human Rights Commission.

Gastelum Buenrostro’s statements describing the migrants as “undesirable” will be used against him in the lawsuit, as well as his promotion of a public referendum for people to decide if they wanted the migrants to remain in the city, something that is unconstitutional.

Last month, hundreds of Tijuana residents protested against the members of the Central American Exodus who had arrived in the city.

They shouted "They are invaders! They are armed! Get out of the country,” and claimed the migrants were making Tijuana unsafe. Some protesters threw bottles at the migrants while others broke into fights with counter-protesters.

In November, the mayor declared an international humanitarian crisis in response to the arrival of thousands of migrants seeking to enter the United States from Tijuana and requested assistance from the United Nations.

After heavy rains, migrant families and unaccompanied minors have faced increasingly dire conditions. 

They are sleeping on cold floors and mats in a stadium. Illnesses have been spreading due to poor conditions. Overcrowding, low temperatures, and rain have caused diseases (including chicken pox, lice, and the flu) to spread among those seeking refuge, city officials told Reuters.

If the lawsuit proceeds, Gastelum Buenrostro will be removed from his position as municipal president of Tijuana.

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