Growing restless: Border migrant camp just south of California now up to 1,000

Border Report

TIJUANA (Border Report) — Calls from the state of Baja California, pleas from the city of Tijuana and a violent storm this week failed to convince migrants to vacate an unofficial campsite just south of the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

Migrants began arriving at the site about two weeks ago when the U.S. started allowing asylum-seekers to cross the border, ending the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols program that has forced asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico.

But the White House and Department of Homeland Security have said only those in the MPP program with cases pending will gain access to cross the border.

Nevertheless, many migrants who are not part of the MPP program have felt the need to converge at the border just in case the U.S. decides to let them in.

And this is how the campsite in Tijuana, where estimates now place the number of migrants gathered at 1,000, came to be

Nicolas Diego is a migrant from Guatemala now living at a migrant campsite just south of the border between San Diego and Tijuana. (Jorge Nieto/Special to Border Report)

“You see all those people right here, they are looking for some future for their kids, their families too, that’s why we’re here,” said Nicolas Diego, a migrant from Guatemala.

Diego told Border Report he arrived in Mexico two months ago after getting a tourist visa in his home country. He admitted it expired eight days after he got it.

Two weeks ago, he, his wife and two children moved into the camp, which doesn’t have basic services such as bathrooms, electricity or running water.

Charities have brought in tents for the migrants, while churches and other groups bring in food and water.

Officials from Tijuana have said they might have to shut down the camp considering many residents who live nearby are complaining. The state’s health department is also asking migrants to vacate for fear of spreading diseases and viruses such as COVID-19.

“We know this is going to work out, we know Biden will give us a chance to be in the U.S. that’s the reason we all came to the border,” Diego said.

In spite of his optimism, Diego is part of a group that is growing impatient.

“I don’t know why they are making us wait for like a long time.”

Others have begun staging demonstrations at the border. Earlier this week, a group of migrants marched to the border crossing wearing white T-shirts that read “Biden please let us in.”

Some migrants staged a demonstration along the northbound lanes at the San Ysidro Port of Entry asking President Joe Biden let them into the U.S. (Jorge Nieto/Special to Border Report)

“There’s a lot of misinformation that unfortunately leads to false expectations that they will soon be allowed to enter the U.S.,” said Pedro Rios, an immigrant right’s advocate based in San Diego. “Everyone here is waiting for information as to how they might enter the U.S. and seek asylum, unfortunately that information isn’t coming.”

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