Donald Trump’s surprise presidential victory (and subsequent assertion that he plans to deport millions of people from the United States) has sent shock waves through border communities. Members of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, once hopeful, say they’re now living in fear as Trump promises to eliminate that program, according to the New York Times.
Cross-border business relationships have also taken a hit after the elections. President Enrique Peña Nieto’s approval rating is down to a new low, with many Mexicans expressing disapproval of the invitation Peña Nieto extended to Trump to visit during his campaign, reports Reuters. The value of the peso also took a hit; Banco de México hiked interest rates by half a percentage point, to 5.25 percent, its highest since 2009, and it has warned that the global economy is more “complex” as a direct result of the U.S. elections.
It’s still up in the air how much border cities like Tijuana might be impacted by the Trump administration, but some things are already changing: After the election, many Haitians who were previously planning to seek refuge in the United States told the Tijuana Press they’re instead planning to stay in Tijuana rather than risk being deported back to Haiti.
At the border wall itself, a few families met on Sunday to share a rare binational embrace, and to give a clear message to the president-elect.
“Love has no borders,” said Enrique Morones, founder of Border Angels, which has worked with border agencies to coordinate the event. “We need people, instead of just being mad, to take action — a peaceful resistance, different acts of love, are very powerful.” Morones reiterated that he plans to continue to push for humane immigration reform, and that the event is part of that drive.
This is the fourth time the emergency door at Friendship Park has opened so that people living in both countries (who are pre-vetted by Border Patrol on the U.S. side) can hug one another. Morones said the broader goal is to allow embraces through widely spaced bars. Now, families and friends can only squeeze fingertips through the chicken wire that reinforces the border wall in order to touch loved ones, in what they call “pinky kisses.”
Mexican Mothers Share Their Stories in San Diego
The Caravana Contra la Represión en México arrived in San Diego last week on its final stop before its participants returned to Mexico. Nine women spoke about their experiences, including two mothers from Ayotzinapa whose sons are part of the group of 43 students missing since September 2014, a mother from Juarez seeking justice for her murdered daughter, a farm laborer from San Quintín who spoke of the sexual abuses in the fields and the cancer-causing chemicals in the soil that affect the berry and fruit pickers there.
Bertha Alicia Garcia Ruiz, whose 17-year-old daughter disappeared in 2009, says that she has not lost hope.
“I’m asking everyone to spread this picture of my daughter in case they see her or they know her,” she said. “I’ve been looking for her for eight years, and that I haven’t given up and I’m going to keep looking for her.”
The Caravana has made its way across the United States, stopping at embassies and universities along the way. The women say that their hope is, by telling their stories, they can help people in the United States understand what is happening in Mexico. Often, they say, human rights abuses are perpetuated on Mexican citizens using money or weapons from the United States, as with Mexico’s military crackdown on crime funded by Plan Merida, or at the behest of American companies in Mexico, such as Driscoll’s.
News From Baja
• State officials say reports of hundreds of missing girls and young women in Baja California are misleading, according to NBC San Diego. Tijuana has 1,251 missing persons reports filed (officials say more than 900 of them have already been solved), and the state of Baja California receives an average of about 120 missing persons reports a month.
• Mexico’s federal government is investigating allegations of corruption by Baja California Gov. Francisco “Kiko” Vega de Madrid. The probe is evidently centered on his acquisition of dozens of properties since 2013, along with possible money laundering. Vega is one of several Mexican governors currently being investigated by its federal authorities.
• More than 40 journalists in Baja California have signed a public letter to Kiko Vega, demanding an investigation into what they believe is a smear campaign by the state government against Adela Navarro, editor of Zeta Tijuana, and Dora Elena Cortes, editor of Agencia Fronteriza de Noticias. The letter alleges that state officials were planning to use information about the editors’ private lives in order to silence them professionally.
• Nineteen firefighters in Tijuana were injured Sunday morning, but none critically, while performing in a Revolution Day parade on Paseo de los Heroes. The bomberos were knocked off balance when the truck on which they were doing acrobatics appeared to go over a bump or hit its brakes, and they all tumbled to the ground. Several were treated for fractures to the leg and collarbone.