Nearly 400 Migrants Arrive in California Border City, More Coming

By Kimberly Hayek

A group of approximately 400 migrants, mostly from Central America, arrived via train to the border city of Mexicali, across from Calexico, California. and taken on buses to local shelters on March 6, reported Mexican media.

The group is made up of 223 men, 96 women, and a total of 38 children, many of whom are unaccompanied minors. Most of them are planning to go west to Tijuana, where resources are so scarce they can only accommodate 200 more people, the director of Mexico’s government program Migrant Care, Gustavo Magallanes Cortés, said.

The Mexican federal government has not provided resources to take care of the migrants, though the National Institute of Migration, a federal agency, provided bus transportation to two shelters in the city, the governor of Baja California, Francisco Vega, said in an interview with La Cronica.

Mario Nuñez, manager at the Hijo Pródigo shelter, said they are expecting to run out of food in three days.

The new group caught up with the approximately 200 other migrants who arrived in the border city earlier this week. So far, there are about 800 migrants in Mexicali and a total of 1,000 were expected to arrive by the end of the week, according to reports.

Some migrants said they want to submit themselves to the United States and ask for help because they either know people in the United States or have family there that will receive them, the manager at Alfa y Omega shelter in Mexicali, Araceli Aviles, said.

Cortés said the group was accompanied by open-borders organization Pueblo Sin Fronteras (People Without Borders), who he said had been helping the migrants make decisions about their journeys, according to Zeta Tijuana.

Pueblo Sin Fronteras had denied being behind the formation, organization, or promotion of the caravans.

Mexican Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez Cordero, said at a meeting in Washington on Feb. 28 that individuals from Pueblo Sin Fronteras are among those the Mexican government has identified in promoting and organizing the caravans.

Sanchez Cordero implied that some who promote caravans may be involved in human smuggling.

She also said the new Mexican government under López Obrador is seeking to have a safe border and break down the “huge business” of human smuggling by regulating immigration in the country.

“We want to regulate immigration in our nation, I believe this is a sovereign right of Mexico to have organized migration,” she said.

So far this fiscal year, Border Patrol has apprehended almost 268,000 people at the southwest border.

In February, there were more than 66,000 apprehensions, according to Customs and Border Protection data. In January, the number was 48,000. The numbers are on target to surpass 640,000 for the fiscal year.