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Maya Srikrishnan's biweekly roundup of stories on the border, immigration and the San Diego-Baja California region (Mondays)
Migrants from around the world are stuck in limbo at the border, Tijuana had a violent first half of 2016, Brexit rears its head in Mexico and more in our biweekly roundup of news from the border.
The Baja California state attorney general’s office is investigating an assault on two Uber drivers in Tijuana by dozens of Yellow Cab employees outside the Pueblo Amigo Hotel, near the San Ysidro border crossing. The Uber drivers say they were attacked with stones, sticks and a stun gun when they arrived to pick up passengers.
“The last thing Tijuana needs is more violence,” a spokesman for Uber Tijuana told Frontera (link in Spanish).
The ride-sharing service has been roundly criticized by Tijuana’s transportation sector, which itself has received criticism for being costly, inefficient and unsafe.
Things between cab drivers and Uber have been tense in the U.S. and all over the world, of course, but reports of threatening behavior from taxi drivers against Uber drivers have surfaced since the ride-sharing service landed in Tijuana.
The waves of refugees hasn’t abated in Tijuana. Migrant shelters are bursting at the seams with people waiting to hear the results of their applications for United States visas, at least temporarily dramatically changing the demographics of the city, David Maung and I report in a Voice of San Diego photo essay.
Haitians are mingling with Ghanaians, Hondurans, Congolese, and — more recently — people from European countries such as Romania and Albania. “Thousands” are coming on the heels of the groups already here, say migrants. There are also many Mexicans in the shelters – people fleeing from violence in the states of Guerrero and Michoacan.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been 409 murders in Tijuana, including 50 during the month of June, Zeta reports (link in Spanish). In 2014, there were 462 homicides reported in Tijuana; in 2015, there were 670. The majority of them, according to the Baja California attorney general’s office, were drug-related.
Meanwhile, Baja California’s state secretary of public safety, Daniel de la Rosa Anaya, says he has suspended more than 500 agents in Baja California, citing corruption, dereliction of duty and misconduct in office. (Uniradio Informa, link in Spanish)
• “Brexit,” Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, rippled across much of the world, including Mexico. In response to the decision, Mexico’s federal government announced major cuts to its budget (31.7 billion pesos), which will in turn affect Baja California. The state’s educational program is cutting just over 11 million pesos from its annual budget. (Wall Street Journal, El Sol de Mexico, link in Spanish)
• Donald Trump’s failed Trump Ocean Resort in Playas left buyers feeling betrayed and angry, with many investors spending their life savings to make deposits (which were never refunded) on seaside condos. (L.A. Times)
• An Ohio seminary student arrested earlier this year for trying to buy babies in Tijuana so he could have sex with them has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. Joel Alexander Wright, 23, posted ads on Craigslist seeking a female tour guide in Mexico. He sent numerous explicit emails to undercover agents telling them he had bought pain medication and “pretty dresses” for the children he planned to adopt. (NBC San Diego)
• Tijuana’s Roman Catholic archdiocese has a new archbishop. Monsignor Francisco Moreno Barrón was named by Pope Francis on June 16. Prior to that, Barrón served as the bishop of the Tlaxcala diocese for eight years. Moreno has little border experience, but worked with migrants at his previous job. (Union-Tribune)