Although the wave of people seeking asylum, refuge, or humanitarian parole in the United States continues unabated, the United States has announced that it will resume deportations of Haitians, six years after suspending them when an earthquake devastated Haiti’s infrastructure in 2010. That will have an immediate effect on how Haitians appearing at the San Ysidro Port of Entry — and every other — will be processed: As of last week, they will be detained and processed under “expedited removal,” also known as the rocket docket, without an appearance before an immigration judge.

The decision has been decried by human rights activists on both sides of the border. Now, hundreds, if not thousands, of people from Haiti to Senegal are stuck in Tijuana, many in limbo as they contend with the U.S.’s new laws — with thousands more on the way. Zona Norte shelter Juventud 2000 has begun erecting tents along the sidewalk outside its walls in order to handle the spillover, its members fretting over whether they will be denied entry into the United States and if they are, where they will go next.

Shelters, meanwhile, are desperate for donations: While Tijuanenses are showing unprecedented generosity, there remains a need for toiletries, tents, blankets and clothes.


Dozens of people marched from a Zona Norte migrant shelter to the border Friday during a visit from priest and migrants’ rights advocate Padre Alejandro Solalinde, who says that organized crime is responsible for the influx of people from all over the world in Tijuana (and now, Tecate and Mexicali).

The group called for leaders in both the United States and Mexico to do more to help immigrants, as well as those who are waiting to enter the United States and those who have been deported. Sergio Tamai, with Mexicali-based immigrant-rights group Angeles Sin Fronteras, calls it a “crisis of migration.”

Photo by Brooke Binkowski
Photo by Brooke Binkowski

“We will keep making noise,” he said.

Tamai added that the U.S. and Mexican governments are exacerbating what is already a human rights crisis: Mexico for not opening more shelters or doing more to support the organizations that are already in place, and the United States for their immigration and deportation policies.


Rep. Juan Vargas, who represents California’s 51st Congressional District, introduced a package last week that would keep U.S. military veterans from being deported. It would also help deported veterans get access to medical care and services: Many veterans who have been deported from the United States were honorably discharged, and are entitled to benefits and VA care, but cannot access them because they cannot appear in person to receive them. The package would also track non-citizen veterans applying for immigration benefits, and let veterans temporarily return to the U.S. to seek care from a VA facility, if necessary.

Cross-Border Crime Update

This week marks two years since Ayotzinapa, when six people were killed and 43 students disappeared following a confrontation with police and Mexico’s military in Iguala in Mexico’s Guerrero state. (The mutilated and tortured body of one student, Julio César Mondragon, appeared in a field the next day. His eyes had been cut out.)

The rest of the students have not been seen since. Their disappearance has resonated around the world, and became a rallying cry for protesters, who continue to decry the mass disappearances that go unresolved in Mexico and beyond. Demonstrations are planned in San Diego, Tijuana and beyond.

• A U.S. citizen was one of two men arrested after a shooting in Zona Norte early Saturday left a Tijuana police officer dead and another seriously wounded. The guns were apparently smuggled into Mexico from the United States.

 An investigation continues into the murder of an 18-year-old from Imperial Beach who was found shot to death in Tijuana. The body of Desteny Hernandez was found on Sept. 8 along Tijuana’s busy Vía Rapida.

More Border News

• Tijuana’s getting a $61 million transit makeover, revamping and modernizing its piecemeal busing systems and replacing them with rapid transit systems. The Sistema Integral de Transporte Tijuana, or SITT, could begin running as soon as November. The project is funded locally, federally and internationally, money is coming from Mexico’s governments as well as UN-Habitat and the World Bank. The project isn’t without controversy, however; taxi drivers say the new system threatens their livelihoods.

• Only two teams in Mexico’s Liga MX soccer league consistently provide English-language coverage: Santos Laguna and the Tijuana Xolos. “Club Tijuana is an international club with access to fans in the United States,” Ivan Orozco — the Xolos’ U.S. Media Communications Manager — told ESPN. “International entities communicate in various languages, why not Xolos?” The experiment appears to be paying off, especially for the Xolos.

• Another day, another article about Mexico’s “up-and-coming” wine country (although this particular piece at least notes that it has been around since the 1800s).

Brooke Binkowski is a backpack reporter who has been covering the U.S.-Mexico border for many years. Find her on Twitter at @brooklynmarie.

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