TIJUANA (Border Report) — Until recently, a makeshift migrant campsite just south of the San Ysidro Port of Entry has been crowded with mostly immigrants from Central America, Haiti and Cuba.
Now, on a daily basis, more and more migrants from the Mexican states of Michoacán and Guerrero are showing up in search of shelter and a meal according to José Luis Pérez Canchola, director of Tijuana’s immigrant office.
He says the people arriving at the Tijuana-San Diego border are mostly young men.
“The interviews I’m conducting are with young people who didn’t want to join cartels or gangs and saw their homes burned to the ground … (people) who were extorted and beaten,” said Pérez Canchola. “They are coming here sick, scared, in fear, and that’s why officials in Michoacán have to open a large shelter or care facility here for all these people arriving from their state.”
But these young men and others now showing up at the camp may not be here for long.
The city of Tijuana last week said it had leased a large facility near downtown and was setting it up to house migrants who have been at the camp for up to five months.
Baja California’s federal representative in Mexico City said the camp needs to be moved in order to reopen the border.
The site sits in the path of pedestrians who walk to and from one of the two pedestrian crossings at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
Pérez Canchola said the migrants he has spoken with are willing to make the move.
“They are willing to be relocated if the government can find them a more dignified place,” he said. “The camp will be dismantled once they can guarantee enough space that’s safe when people move over, but this is all in the federal government’s hands.”
Pérez Canchola insisted the state of Michoacán also has to be involved.
“When these young migrants arrive here, not one cent is spent by the Michoacán government to help.”