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Surge of Refugees from Africa, Caribbean Overwhelm Private Shelters in Tijuana

LADB Article ID: 80015
Category/Department: Mexico
Date: 2016-06-29
By: Carlos Navarro

Migrants from Africa, the Caribbean, and other regions have started to flood Tijuana in the hope of receiving political asylum in the US. The large influx of refugees, which caught Mexican and US authorities by surprise, comes on top of the many migrants from Guerrero and Michoacán who are escaping drug-related violence in their states.This sudden increase of migrants during May and June has overwhelmed privately run shelters in the border city, creating what one shelter director describes as a “refugee crisis.” Humanitarian organizations and officials on both sides of the border said they were uncertain what caused the sudden influx, but they say many of them come from Ghana and Haiti. There are no exact numbers available, but local humanitarian organizations estimate that hundreds of migrants have arrived in recent weeks. While these numbers are large enough to overwhelm the system of private shelters in the city, the totals are far below the thousands of refugees from Central America, primarily women and children, that flooded South Texas in 2014. There are some reports that a global network of human traffickers is behind the surge of refugees from sub-Saharan Africa, who arrive in Tijuana via South America.

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