TIJUANA (Border Report) — The future of the migrant campsite on the Mexican side of the San Ysidro Port of Entry has devolved further into uncertainty.
The city of Tijuana, the state of Baja California, and Mexico’s federal government have been trying to convince the migrants to vacate the area and they thought they had found a solution: Tijuana’s current mayoral administration had leased a warehouse in downtown Tijuana, hoping to turn it into a giant shelter for the migrants.
But the incoming administration has not agreed to continue making payments once it takes over at the end of the year, and now the owner of the property has decided to end the lease.
That leaves the migrants in limbo. Some have been at the campsite — right across the border from San Diego — for more than five months.
Initially, they’d hoped the Biden administration would allow them into the country and that’s why they began to gather near the border, as a way to be first in line.
But since then, the White House has said this is not going to happen and some of the migrants have lost hope and have begun leaving on their own.
But most, about 1,500 people, mostly from Central America and Haiti, remain in spite of the area being labeled as “dangerous” by Tijuana police, which says the area has become a recruiting spot for smugglers.
And according to the city’s immigrant care office, the campsite is home to kidnappings, assaults and attempted extortions almost on a daily basis.
Another reason the city wants to clear out the camp is that most of the tents that have been set up by the migrants sit in the path of people coming and going from Ped West, one of two pedestrian crossings at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
This has not been an issue since the facility has been closed for more than a year due to the pandemic.
But plans are in place to reopen the crossing as soon as essential travel restrictions are lifted, something that could potentially happen as early as Aug. 21.
Tijuana city officials insist they will find a way to clear the camp and move residents without forcing anyone out and creating chaos.