Migrants live a Christmas between hope and nostalgia on the Mexican border

Among the migrant families in the city of Tijuana is Lizbeth, a young woman from Honduras who has been on this border for three months, to whom she arrived accompanied by her two daughters in search of an opportunity to cross into the United States to escape the violence in his country.

However, they did not find the promised border less hostile that now US President Joe Biden announced in his electoral campaign, which has been particularly sad for her, especially at this time.

“It is difficult, especially when one thinks that changing places is better and perhaps more difficult than one imagines. Arriving at such a place is like getting lost in time, our roots are left behind ”, Lizbeth told EFE.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas, she mentioned that she would rather not tell her seven-year-old daughter when the exact day is, as it would be sad to see her not receive any gifts or because it could affect her being separated from the rest of the family.

“Christmas is not the best drink for me, it is the worst, it is the most bitter there can be, although I do wish that for others this Christmas would be the best. My daughter is young, she is seven years old and she does not know what day is Christmas, “he said.

“Getting to explain it (to her daughter) I think would be the most difficult part, because everyone is waiting for a call, a message, a gift,” he added with tears in his eyes.

Silent Night?

The panorama in Tijuana, the busiest border crossing in northern Mexico, reflects the record flow to the United States, whose Customs and Border Protection (CBP) “found” more than 1.7 million illegal immigrants on the border with Mexico in the year fiscal 2021.

The Mexican Government has received criticism for its treatment of migrants and the current deployment of more than 28,000 agents of the Armed Forces on the northern and southern borders for migratory tasks.

In addition, Biden agreed with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to reestablish the “Stay in Mexico” program this December, to force asylum seekers in the United States to wait for their process in Mexican territory.

As of early December alone, there were 26,500 petitioners on waiting lists in eight Mexican border cities, according to a study by the University of Texas at Austin.

Among them was Samanta, also originally from Honduras, who said she had mixed emotions because she is sad to be away from home, but happy because she is under the protection of a shelter, where she intends to participate in a planned Christmas dinner.

Although the Government of Mexico has promised a “humanitarian and solidary” migration policy, it is the shelters and civil associations that have welcomed migrants.

Read also: Father Verzeletti: government restrictions make migration more dangerous

In contrast, Mexican authorities have detained more than 252,000 migrants so far this year and deported more than 100,000, according to the Migration Policy Unit of the Ministry of the Interior (Segob), which represent figures not seen in more than 15 years.

According to José María García Lara, director of the Juventud 2000 shelter in Tijuana, at least in the space he directs there are more than 120 migrants who were waiting for a dinner this Christmas Eve, for that reason turkeys and a small inn were prepared for them on the night of the 24th. from December. EFE


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