Our South Bay community is dealing with humanitarian crisis at our San Ysdiro International Border. As each day passes, the number of caravan migrants grow: todays estimate is approximately 5,700 people. More are on their way from Jalisco, Sonora, and south Mexico. Tijuana shelters are full, food scarce, despair and desperation are setting in. United States President Donald Trump and Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum share in their frustration with an unprecedented situation, unlike any they had ever seen in this region.
Our local TV stations showed violent anti-migrant protests in Tijuana streets, migrants straddling an international boundary fence, and finally, on this past Sunday, Nov. 25, hundreds of migrants rushing to the port of entry. This final event caused a five hour complete shutdown of the San Ysdiro International Border, leaving workers and shoppers stranded on either side. Tijuana –San Diego commuters are now wondering when the next shut down will occur.
Commentary of all sorts is flooding local, national news, and social media. Much of this commentary is very negative, condemning migrants for “not respecting the laws”, and even “using children as shields”. A picture of a migrant woman and her two small children running from tear gas, sprayed by border officers on Sunday, has made newspapers around the world.
America is not the only country dealing with refugees fleeing violence or war in their homeland. But now, it’s our turn, our opportunity to show the world what Americans are all about. Will we overlook our differences with Mexico and work to find humanitarian solutions for the thousands of men, women and children at our southern doorstep or will we instead continue to erect a wall built of hate and fear?
Vivian Marlene Dunbar is a resident of San Ysidro.