Central American migrants are beginning to turn ‘self-deport” back to their homeland rather than continue to stay in the temporary camp stationed within a sports complex in Tijuana, Mexico.

Despite traveling as much as 4,500 miles – much of it on foot – hundreds of migrants have already accepted free flights home rather than stay longer in the filth-strewn sports complex that has become their temporary home in Tijuana, Mexico.
Lice and respiratory infections are becoming endemic inside the Benito Juarez sports complex and health workers warn that it’s a matter of ‘when, not if’ an outbreak of serious disease sweeps the scruffy labyrinth of tents and tarps sheltering an estimated 6,000 people.

Tijuana’s Health Department revealed on Thursday that there are cases of migrants suffering from tuberculosis, chickenpox, skin infections, and there is now a risk of an hepatitis outbreak due to the squalid conditions.

So far, there have been three confirmed cases of tuberculosis, four of chickenpox, and four cases of HIV/AIDS.

There is also the threat of Hepatitis A, which has plagued neighboring San Diego recently. A significant factor contributing to the spread of disease and pests is the limited availability of sanitation.

The location also has only 35 portable bathrooms. A sign reading “No Spitting” was put up, as coughing and spitting by migrants are rampant in the shelter.

Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum said Tuesday that the city has enough money to assist the migrants only for a few more days, with the city saying it’s spending around $30,000 a day.

“We won’t compromise the resources of the residents of Tijuana,” Gastelum said during a press conference. “We won’t raise taxes tomorrow to pay for today’s problem.”

Migrants are beginning to give up hope. Not only is there a threat of catching a serious illness, but it also turns out that getting into the United States was much harder than the migrants may have been led to believe.

Facing a hostile welcome and little hope, a growing number of migrants have decided to turn back.

“We’re going home defeated, but alive,” said Yaison Roca, 29, a Honduran man travelling with his wife and three children who took part in Sunday’s border stampede and says the crackdown left his family traumatised.

On Monday, a line formed outside a tent set up by the International Organisation for Migration where migrants could ask to be sent home voluntarily. More than 80 requested help from the United Nations body that day, up from just a handful in previous days, officials said.


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