TIJUANA (Border Report) — Back in July, Don Miguel arrived at the migrant campsite just south of the San Ysidro Port of Entry after his family members were shot and killed by a drug cartel in the Mexican state of Guerrero.
The 72-year-old says he had no choice but to flee.
His hope is to be allowed to cross the border into the U.S. and start a new life.
For the time being, he’ll remain at the campsite, which is now in its tenth month.
“A lot of people have left,” he said in Spanish.
Don Miguel told Border Report he’s definitely noticed fewer migrants at the camp in recent months, something the city of Tijuana confirms. According to city officials, a little more than 400 migrants remain at the site. At its peak, an estimated 2,000 people were living there.
“Many have chosen to go back to their home states in Mexico,” said Enrique Lucero, the head of Tijuana’s Migrant Affairs Office. “The current administration has paid the costs of transportation for those who have decided to go.”
Lucero also stated they will continue to offer relocation services to any migrant who is from Mexico.
“Many have said they are considering it, and others have agreed to move to shelters in Tijuana.”
Lucero wanted to stress that the migrants are not being forced to leave and that there is no timeline as to when everyone will have to vacate the area.
“We will continue to provide services to the migrants,” Lucero said. “No one has to leave.”
One such service is trash collection.
Crews are sent to the site twice a day and reportedly haul away two trucks worth every time they visit.
“We are now running a campaign to inform and to try and convince migrants it’s best for them to leave and that they will be taken care of,” said Lucero. “We are telling them winter and low temperatures are coming and now is the time to move, we won’t be able to do it later especially when the holidays roll around.”
But if you ask Don Miguel, he says he’s not moving anywhere.
“I’m staying, they’re going to open the border and I want to be here when it happens,” he said.