10:07 GMT07 March 2021
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    TIJUANA (Sputnik) - Local businesses from restaurants to clothing stores in a Mexican border city have suffered since a caravan of Central American migrants arrived and disrupted the tourism industry, with some losing up to 100 percent in revenue.

    Municipal police have estimated that around 5,600 migrants are now at the Albergue Benito Juarez shelter in Tijuana — a Mexican border town just south of California.

    In recent days around 500 members of the caravan attempted to storm the border prompting US authorities to respond with tear gas and rubber bullets. Hundreds have been arrested and many, according to Mexican authorities, are already prepared to return to their origin country.

    "My business has gone down 100 percent," local clothing store owner Mauro Lopez told Sputnik. "You can see there are no tourists on the streets. [The caravan] affected it clearly."

    Lopez, who has a store on Revolucion avenue in Tijuana, explained that 97 percent of his sales come from cross-border tourism. However, US tourists are refraining from visiting Tijuana ever since the caravan arrived, he said.

    Local residents, Lopez added, have no solution to their economic problem and the Mexican government is doing nothing to fix the issue with the caravan.

    Trump has deployed thousands of troops to the US-Mexican border to prevent the caravan from entering the United States. The US president also ordered the temporary closing of the San Ysidro Port of Entry near San Diego.

    Martha Torres, another clothing store owner on Revolucion avenue, told Sputnik that there have been no sales and the only people seen walking on the streets are locals.

    "There are no sales, nothing," Torres said. "You can see the street is deserted. The only people walking the street are locals, not tourists. This is not normal."

    Torres said about 70 percent of her sales depend on tourism but for three weeks the caravan's arrival has hurt her business.

    "It's of the fear of whether or not they'll close the entry point," Torres said. "For example if I live in San Diego and come over then they close on me, what do I do? It has hurt our sales."

    Eduardo Cervantes, an employee at a local restaurant, told Sputnik the caravan has left them with no business.

    "This caravan has ended up hurting us a lot because we depend on tourism," Cervantes said. "The tourists, Americans are scared. We have two weeks with no work. This caravan came to leave us with nothing. Right now we're struggling. Yesterday we only served two tables."

    Cervantes pointed out that US citizens have been warned of visiting Mexico because they could be harmed due to the caravan.

    "They already told them not to come to Mexico, they scared them because something can happen to them," Cervantes said.

    Philipe Acevedo, an employee at another clothing store, told Sputnik the disruption caused by the caravan is making cities on both sides of the border look bad.

    "It's sad because this is a bad image for Tijuana and San Diego," Acevedo said.

    Acevedo said about 95 percent of his business at his store has dropped. He added that the caravan has also deterred commercial traffic for businesses on the US side of the border in the city of San Ysidro.

    "This looks like it's going to take months to end, not two or three weeks," Acevedo said. "It's going to be difficult for all [businesses]… all the hotels, restaurants. It’s impacted all of us — all the citizens in Tijuana."

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    business, migrant caravan, US, Tijuana, Mexico
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