Mexico’s midterm elections are laying the groundwork for the 2018 presidential elections, or at least offering a taste of what it might look like.

Three candidates claimed an early lead in Tijuana’s hotly contested mayoral race Sunday: Rene Mendevil from a political coalition led by the establishment party PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party), Juan Manuel Gastelum from PRI’s historic rival PAN (National Action Party) and Julian Leyzaola, a former Tijuana police chief who’s affiliated with the small, heavily evangelical Christian Social Encounter Party. Voters say their biggest concerns are structural: crime, corruption, trash and transportation, reports the Union-Tribune.

While Tijuana will likely go either PRI or PAN, there’s change in the air: For the first time, independent candidates have entered the fray. Mexico’s legislative reform, which was passed in 2014, created a structured, if onerous, framework for independent candidates to run for government posts. No matter the outcome of the race in Tijuana, the changed laws promise to remap the political landscape there — and in the rest of Mexico, as well.

Some violence was reported throughout Mexico during the days leading up to the elections, notes the Associated Press.

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In the past few weeks, hundreds of people have arrived from all over the world at the Tijuana side of the San Ysidro border crossing to ask for humanitarian or political asylum in the United States.

The refugees and hopeful asylees are in Tijuana from some of the more violent parts of Mexico, but also from throughout Central and South America, Haiti, the Congo and Angola, among other countries. It’s not clear why they all arrived at the same time. Local shelters and assistance groups have aiding the people waiting in line — many of whom have been sleeping there so they don’t lose their place as Customs and Border Protection deals with the backlog in visa applications. (La Jornada link in Spanish, Union-Tribune)

There’s also a resurgence of children and families from Central America seeking asylum, approaching the numbers that caused an immigration crisis during the summer of 2014, reports NPR.

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“El Chapito Uriarte,” regional leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, was captured in Tijuana Saturday. Mexican authorities say he was considered a major criminal target, responsible for multiple murders. (Zeta, link in Spanish)

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Mexico played Chile to a sold-out Qualcomm Stadium on June 1st. The soccer game was especially popular because it took place on the cusp of the Copa América Centenario.

Mexico scored late in the game, beating Chile 1-0.

Photo by Brooke Binkowski

Mexico fans packed the stadium and parking lot, taking the opportunity to make the event a political statement as well as a party. (Bleacher Report)

Brooke Binkowski

Brooke Binkowski is a backpack reporter who has been covering the U.S.-Mexico border for many years. Find her on Twitter at @brooklynmarie.

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