CALEXICO, Calif. (Border Report) — On Wednesday, police in Calexico, California, a border town about 120 miles east of San Diego, tore down a campsite that had been set up for homeless field and farmworkers in the Imperial Valley.
The site was set up by a non-profit in the area on city of Calexico property at the base of the border barrier.
Earlier in the week, police posted signs warning people they were going to be evicted.
According to inewsource, a news outlet in the Imperial Valley, Hugo Castro, an encampment organizer, was arrested for refusing to leave the area. The report says Castro was cited for unlawful assembly and released.
When Border Report visited the campsite on March 15, there were about a dozen people living there.
Back then, Calexico Council member Raul Urena, said the site was needed because many field workers can’t afford to pay rent on either side of the border.
“All these men wake up at 3 a.m. go to third street to catch the bus to go work in the fields, and they come back around 6 p.m. so instead of sleeping on the hard concrete they have a mattress, they have security that they are going to be fed at least every single,” Urena said.
At that time, Urena was one of two Calexico Council members who voted against the sale of the land to the federal government.
The Army Corps of Engineers had agreed to buy the land for the possibility of using it for future border wall construction.
But, President Biden’s moratorium on wall construction led to the sale being postponed and the land reverting back to city control.
According to inewsource‘s report, Calexico Police Chief Gonzalo Gerardo said the cleanup was in response to complaints from nearby residents and concerns for safety.
“At this point, you can’t be there,” Chief Gerardo said on Wednesday. “It’s unsafe.”
Most of the people who were staying at the camp were moved to a local shelter run by Catholic Charities of San Diego.