TIJUANA (Border Report) — Journalist Gerardo Andrade, known in the Tijuana-San Diego region for his crime reporting and controversial cartoons, has published a drawing depicting the migrant campsite just south of the border as a ticking time bomb.
His work shows a giant bomb with a lighted fuse and the word “Chaparral” on it. The area where the makeshift camp is set up is known as “El Chaparral.”
Migrants started moving there and living in donated tents almost six months ago as a way to be near the border and to be first in line should President Biden grant them access to the United States.
Andrade also quotes activists who work with the migrants saying the camp is now fully controlled by crime organizations, and that it’s only a matter of time before “it totally goes off.”
Wednesday morning, a migrant attacked a photojournalist for the El Sol de Tijuana newspaper.
According to police, the migrant threw a bucket of dirty water at the photographer, and as she complained to officers, the male suspect reportedly used a broomstick to attack the journalist and then threw a cellphone at her.
The migrant was taken into custody.
A few months ago, police said they could not guarantee the safety of reporters and photographers who ventured into the camp.
Now, sources are telling Border Report that lawmakers at all levels of government have become “tired of the camp” and hope it will soon be gone. It’s seen as a drain on public resources.
The state is providing medical care and personnel daily to the migrants through a mobile-care unit.
On Tuesday, it began offering COVID-19 vaccinations to those at the camp over the age of 18.
The city of Tijuana has added portable showers and bathrooms to the camp. It also picks up the trash almost daily. And it has committed dozens of police officers to the area.
Charities and churches bring in meals and clothing for the migrants.
But many in Tijuana say the migrants and the camp have worn out their welcome as public support continues to erode.
Businesses along the area, including a pharmacy and liquor store that cater primarily to tourists, say foot traffic and their profits are way down because customers are afraid to venture near the camp, which is occupied primarily by people from Central American and Haitians. Although lately, Mexicans from the state of Michoacan have been arriving as they flee from violence in that part of Mexico.
Tijuana police have also labeled the camp as “dangerous and a recruiting ground for smugglers.”
The head of the city’s immigrant care office has said the campsite is home to kidnappings, assaults and attempted extortion almost on a daily basis.
The city had leased a warehouse in downtown Tijuana on Second Avenue with plans to set it up as a shelter for the migrants now at the border campsite, but plans have stalled.
As reported by Border Report, the incoming mayoral administration has yet to commit to paying for the lease once it takes over at the end of the year. And due to the uncertainty, the owner of the property has decided to end the agreement.
For now, the camp and its residents remain in limbo.
The White House has said it has no plans to allow them north of the border.
One Baja California state official, who wanted to remain anonymous, said that with migrants from the camp now getting vaccinated, it will be easier to move them out in a few weeks.