Migrants in Tijuana still are hoping to enter US
Life in Tijuana’s largest migrant shelter has begun to take on the familiar rhythms and sounds of a Central American neighborhood: Early in the morning, adults rise and get ready to go to work. Children dress for school. Mothers gather huge bundles of dirty clothes for the day’s wash. Vendors hawk coffee.
“We are getting used to this life,” said Norma Pérez, 40, who left Honduras in a migrant caravan bound for the United States about two months ago with her 5-year-old son.
For weeks, they walked from Central America up to the Mexican border with the United States, fleeing poverty and violence. All along the way, President Donald Trump described the migrants as a danger, as invaders trying to crash their way into the United States. But they didn’t stop their trek north.
When they arrived at the border, Tijuana was not ready for them. The conditions were deplorable, and the migrants were surprised they would not be able to apply for asylum right away. Twice, groups of migrants approached the border fence and were repelled by Border Patrol agents using tear gas and pepper spray.
But now, life for many of the new arrivals has settled down.
Mexico’s new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has begun to make good on promises to create alternatives to immigration, and he has rolled out a plan to increase wages along the U.S.-Mexico border.
And the migrants themselves have begun to create a sense of community in the shelters here, like the city’s largest, known as El Barretal. They said they have no intention of turning back.
Trump “should personally go to Honduras so he can see with his own eyes that we simply can’t go back, that there are no jobs, no companies, nothing,” Pérez said.