TIJUANA (Border Report) — Baja California Gov. Jaime Bonilla insists there is no migration crisis at the border even though immigrants continue to pour into cities like Tijuana on a daily basis, a trend that has become evident over the last year.
Bonilla maintains it’s an illusion and something that has happened for many years.
“Here, especially in Tijuana, we get up to 3,000 migrants daily via different routes, this doesn’t signal a crisis,” said Bonilla. “You can’t say these are caravans either, it’s just an exodus of people looking to better their lives.”
Bonilla went on to say migrants who have been living at a campsite in Tijuana just south of the San Ysidro Port of Entry are expected to begin vacating the area in the near future. “We can’t obligate them, we just have to explain the reasons why they need to mobilize.”
“We will reposition them, we will make sure each one has paperwork so they will have peace of mind,” said Bonilla. “We will continue with health measures to minimize the spread of not only COVID-19, but chickenpox and other viruses.”
The relocation of the migrants will be handled by the City of Tijuana.
Last week, it leased a large facility that will be turned into a shelter in the downtown area close to the border.
“I’m not in a position to say exactly where it’s moving to and where the building is,” Bonilla said.
The governor insisted the migrants won’t be forced to relocate, something he has relayed to the families at the campsite.
It’s estimated that as many as 2,000 migrants, including more than 500 children, most of them from Central America, have been living at the camp for almost five months.
“They feel they are a step away from crossing the border by being there, if we take them to the warehouse they believe we will be trying to control them,” Bonilla said.
Although it has been widely reported by news agencies on both sides of the border, including Border Report, Bonilla stated reopening the border is not predicated on the camp being moved.
As it sits now, the migrants’ tents would be impeding access and the flow of foot traffic to and from one of the pedestrian crossings at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
The migrants have been able to survive thanks to food and clothing donations from churches and charities, support that has reportedly dwindled in recent weeks.
They have also received support from the State of Baja California, which has set up a mobile health clinic offering medical, psychological and basic urgent care.
The City of Tijuana also set up portable bathrooms and showers, but the migrants have complained the facilities are not enough and are not cleaned frequently.