Homeless after deportation, migrants in Tijuana demand government help

By Manuel Ayala

Tijuana, Mexico, Aug 8 (EFE).- Mexican civil society organizations and migrants deported from the United States who are now homeless in the border city of Tijuana on Monday demonstrated against the situation in which they say they have been left by authorities.

About 60 people said that for many years they provided remittances to the Mexican state, exalted by the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, until they were deported.

Sergio Tamai, director of the Angels Without Borders organization, told reporters that for nine years they have been requesting greater guarantees and comprehensive care for deported Mexican migrants.

He said many of them lose their assets in the process and when they arrive in Tijuana they are vulnerable and homeless.

Tamai recalled that precisely nine years ago, in a plaza located 1 kilometer from the San Ysidro border, a camp was set up and later evicted under the promise of a new shelter for migrants who were affected.

However, he said so far none of the agreements from then have been fulfilled.

“Since then, there have been various government administrations that have done the same thing, removing migrants from the area known as ‘El Bordo’ (the side), taking them to rehabilitation centers without their consent, causing everything to fall apart,” he said.

This, he said, has caused homeless migrants to be dispersed in various parts of the city near the San Ysidro border, in addition to the Central Americans who arrive and cannot find a place to settle.

“The image of Tijuana is chaotic and shameful, because some of the [people] have alcohol and drug problems and they are not being treated. It is sad to see that situation due to the neglect of the government,” said Tamai.

Rubén, a migrant deported six years ago, told EFE he had been in the US for more than 20 years when he was returned to Mexico through Tijuana, where he decided to stay to see if he could one day be able to return to where his children live.

Being on “this side” of the wall has been tough for him.

“It’s sad, because I don’t even know my grandchildren. I have three who are American citizens and my children are there with them. I do have good communication with them, but it’s complicated,” he said.

Regarding government support, he said that “we haven’t had any,” and what they usually receive is “from the community that supports us, because the government hasn’t done anything. On the contrary – all migrants have been victims of the government itself; they have been beaten, some robbed and taken away without any pretext.”

Ramón Rodríguez Mercado said that in 1970 he went to the US and four years ago he was deported, which has been difficult because it has been hard for him to find a job and stay in the city.

“It has been very complicated. We have not had support. I am married in the United States to an American, she sends me a little money. If it weren’t for that it would be very difficult to live here,” he said. EFE


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