Tijuana border deportees
Lately, I’ve been parking my car in San Ysidro and walking through the Port of Entry. Every night, no fail, at around 7 p.m. I walk through right as Border Patrol agents are deporting their latest batch of undocumented workers. The group of deportees are made up mostly of young men, but there have been times when I’ve seen women, small children and old men barely able to walk.
It’s sad, to say the least. The people are taken off a bus, forced to stand against the border fence with their arms up like criminals, then they’re given a brown paper bag with the letters “MX” scribbled across the bottom corner and squeezed through a little side door right next to the turnstile gate where people walk through.
Most of them look bewildered and scared. They group together near the border fence and go through the contents of the bag — so far, what I’ve seen are shoelaces, belts and bottled water — then they eventually wander off into the wild that is Tijuana.
A few of the deportees ask passersby for money so they can call their families on the nearby public phones. Others likely have no way of contacting their family members. I can’t even imagine being in that situation. No wonder Tijuana has so many problems. The deportees have no food, no shelter –they have nothing but the clothes on their backs. If I were in that situation, I’d do whatever it took to get food and shelter. Steeling and panhandling comes to mind.
There has simply got to be a better way. Aside from humanitarian organizations like La Casa Del Migrante, which has representatives waiting at the fence for deportees from time to time, and a new program that gives immigrants a ride back to their hometown (which most left for good reason and have no interest in returning to), the people have little to no resources. It’s just not fair. The United States should take more ownership in what happens to the people we deport. Dropping them off in Tijuana with nothing but a paper bag filled with crap is just not enough.