TIJUANA (Border Report) — Capitalism is alive and well in Tijuana even if it comes at the expense of asylum-seekers who don’t have very much, to begin with.
A business owner near a newly-formed migrant campsite just south of the border is charging people from the camp eight pesos (40 cents) to use his bathroom.
The migrants say they have no other options.
Since last week, asylum-seekers and others have been gathering and camping out on a sidewalk and plaza next to the Mexican side of the San Ysidro Port of Entry in South San Diego.
“I’ve been here since Thursday,” Morena Serrano told Cadena Noticias, a news outlet in Northern Baja California. “Thank god there are few churches that provided camping tents, but since then we haven’t been able to bathe, and to use a bathroom they charge us eight pesos every time we go.”
Serrano is from El Salvador and has become one of about 200 people now living at this campsite.
She and the others came here as a way to get in line, hoping for permission to get into the U.S., which on Friday began permitting asylum-seekers to cross the border once again.
The White House and Department of Homeland Security have warned migrants not to approach border crossings along the southern border. Instead, asylum-seekers with pending cases are to log onto a web portal and reaffirm their desire for asylum.
Once registered, migrants are supposed to get a time and date whey they’ll be able to cross the border.
Some have complained the system is not working and getting appointments has been impossible.
While migrants are being encouraged to leave the area, most are adamant about staying.
They say in leaving, they might be abandoning their place in line, giving up an opportunity to enter the U.S. should the border be open.
Due to the high concentration of people, state health officials have placed a mobile health unit at the site and have begun providing minor medical care. They’re also giving away facemasks and sanitizer to prevent the spread of COVID-19
“I’m not leaving and having to go back to some shelter,” said Serrano.
Last Friday, 25 asylum-seekers were the first to enter the U.S. officially ending the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols program, which mandated asylum-seekers remain in Mexico while waiting for their court cases to be decided.
Others, including another group yesterday at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, have begun crossing the border into the U.S. More are expected in coming months at border crossings all along the southern border.