Tijuana, Mexico – When heavy rains flooded the already unsanitary camp on the northern side of Tijuana on Thursday night, housing thousands of Central American asylum seekers, the authorities began moving small groups into a new government-managed hall to lay east of the border between the US and Mexico.
In total, 700 of the 6,000 people accommodated in the sports complex Benito Juarez were transported by bus to the new facility.
Buses arrived on Friday morning to transport others, but many expressed skepticism at the distance the new accommodation is from the border.
The rain had turned most of the camp to mud, flooding tents and forcing some migrants and refugees
The living conditions for migrants and refugees are worsening and waiting times for the asylum process are getting longer and longer, leading Tijuana officials and migrants annoyed.
Mirna Contreras was sitting in her tent, waiting in the rain on Thursday afternoon. She said she was sad because she did not have enough money to rent a room at a local hotel.
"My tent is slowly flooded, it's really cold at night and I have a bad cold," she said to Al Jazeera.
Rain brings caravan migrants camping in Tijuana in distress
. Children walked barefoot through mud and puddles in the eastern part of the camp, which was originally a baseball field. On Thursday, UNICEF said it was concerned about the nutrition, education and health of migrant and refugee children.
Tijuanas Government Secretary Leopoldo Guerrero confirmed that the new shelter was spacious enough to accommodate all migrants and refugees. However, he said the city government has difficulty meeting the need for resources such as clothing, medicine and food.
The government expects another 4,000 migrants to arrive in the city in the coming months.
"Tijuana needs the federal government to intervene because the current situation is not sustainable." We need the federal government to allow the government to have total control over migrant housing, including costs, "he told Al Jazeera.
Guerrero said the city spends about $ 27,119 a day on food, water, clothing and services for migrants and refugees.
The first group of migrants and refugees who left Honduras more than a month ago arrived in Tijuana in mid-November. Thousands more from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico have joined subsequent groups.
Many say they are fleeing violence, extreme poverty and political persecution.
In late November, Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum declared the situation for a humanitarian crisis and asked the United Nations for help to help the city deal with the influx of people seeking asylum in the US want to ask.
Rights groups accuse US President Donald Trump of causing the crisis at the border by taking extreme measures against migrants and refugees, including thousands of US soldiers across the border.
US officials said Friday that the number of troops would be reduced from 5,600 to 4,000, but the deployment could be extended by the end of January, Reuters reported.
Many accuse the US government of halting the number of asylum applications it has accepted, allegations that officials deny.
The new accommodation in eastern Tijuana is managed by the Mexican Immigration Department.
While the Tijuana government is feeling the financial pressure of maintaining housing, migrants and refugees are becoming tired of living conditions and waiting periods for asylum.
Migrants and refugees use aid groups to manage their own informal numbering system, which has so far tracked more than 5,000 asylum seekers. Those at the bottom of the list expect to wait at least two months before being given the opportunity to file their asylum application with the US authorities.
|UNICEF has expressed concerns about the nutrition, education and health of children in the camp [Hannah McKay/Reuters]|
Nusli Antunez came to the shelter six days ago with her husband, and although she hopes to be granted asylum, she wants to go to Tijuana work.
"We want to get out of here, rent a room and work," she said.
Antunez intended to go to a job fair organized by the Mexican Ministry of Labor for Migrants and Refugees.
She has asthma and admits that many migrants and refugees have to stay at the shelter because they live there. She can not afford to rent a room, she does not want that.
"Just look at the conditions we live in," she said.
Meanwhile, more than a dozen migrant women have announced on Thursday that they are on a hunger strike to pressure the Mexican and US authorities to accelerate their processing of asylum applications.
When the group attempted to go to the crosswalk where they had planned the strike, it was stopped by the Mexican Federal Police, which raised security concerns after protesters and refugees had protested in a protest on Sunday Children, with tear gas and five-hour closure of the border.
On Friday morning, 10 people, three migrants and seven human rights defenders near the pedestrian crossing are on hunger strike in Chaparral