Caravan Update - DEC 5
Any risk of closure to the ports of entry in Tijuana has now been mitigated. We are continuing to follow the situation closely and are in contact with officials on both sides of the border, here is the latest update:
Due to the poor and overcrowded conditions at the caravan migrant camp in downtown Tijuana, the Mexican government has relocated the group of migrants from Central America. They are now being housed in a camp called “el Barretal” The camp is on the far south eastern corner of Tijuana. They are no longer near the border and do not pose a threat to the ports of entry as it is a two and a half hour walk from their camp to the nearest border crossing. The camp is also far from any of the major highways that we use as transport for our staff, students and teams.
We do not currently build Homes of Hope anywhere near the camp, and the camp is located over 25 miles away from our YWAM San Antonio Del Mar campus, a six hour walk.
The Mexican government is currently supporting the camp and any migrants who choose to stay outside the camp lose their humanitarian status in Mexico and can be deported. Just last night we spoke with a Mexican official overseeing the camp. He assured us that the migrants are in a much better situation in their current location. Mexico has offered voluntary deportation to any migrant who would like to return to their home country. To this point several hundred people have taken this option. Mexico is also offering jobs to migrants who would like to stay in Mexico and work. Several thousand are remaining in the camp and waiting for a chance to peacefully claim amnesty in the United States.
The recent increase of migrants in Tijuana has distinctly impacted the downtown “zona norte” region. There is no danger presented to the YWAM campus or our staff or teams. We have staff crossing the border daily and we are closely monitoring the situation. We have open communication with the US consulate in the area.
On Sunday afternoon a portion of the migrants decided to march on the border and attempt entry. This caused the temporary closure of the San Ysidro port of entry. There are three local ports of entry and the other two remained in operation.
The Mexican police and the US customs agents and military have mechanisms in place to quickly seal off the border area from the general public if need be. They did this effectively in Sunday. We are closely following the situation at the local level and have adjusted our border crossing to avoid any potential issue with crossing.
The mayor of Tijuana has called for large scale international humanitarian assistance. There is a network of migrant shelters and soup kitchens, however the vast majority of migrants are being sheltered and fed by the Mexican government at a park complex in the heart of downtown. The shelter is not located near the ywam campus or the communities where we build Homes of Hope.
Our leadership team and staff have been in prayer as to how we can be a part of a positive outcome for the people in the caravan. At this time we have no plan to offer material support, however we are carefully planning how we can be a blessing to this large group of people in their time of desperation.