At the corner of Latin America, where the first block meets the ocean and the only view is a fence and the United States over yonder, there is a place known as the Embajada Migrante. It is the outpost of the Border Angels in Playas de Tijuana. It is a place where migrants, refugees and advocates meet and provide resources to weary travelers.
One night earlier this week, the area in front of this office was filled with a spectacle of hate and fury as now reported worldwide, the intolerance of local Mexican residents organized a protest to violently kick out the Caravan refugees that had come to the area to peacefully stay the night in the Playas de Tijuana area.
As tensions rose, this reactionary, intolerant, and most unbecoming conduct contrary to the warmth one might associate with the people of Mexico was visited upon those in the Caravan who were already exhausted and bruised by the long voyage. To say Mexicans everywhere are embarrassed by this event is an understatement. The group that perpetrated this hate is not representative of the vast majority of Mexicans who have opened their hearts along the route, offering, food, medicine and comfort to those in exodus.
The shameful disregard for the plight of the Caravan members this past week must never be confused for anything but what it is. This was a pathetic assault on humanity by a bunch of cowards. The area of Playas de Tijuana and Tijuana in general has suffered insecurity for decades at the hands of threats from corrupt elements including hoards of partying Americans who drink and drive, destroy property, pee on sidewalks, throw trash (you name it). When have residents of this zone ever come out in mass to protest or kick out the white American caravans of Spring Breakers that invade the neighborhood, causing gridlock, car accidents and all kinds of problems?
The hate speech out of the mouths of the residents last night was nothing short of anti immigrant, racist, mean-spirited, “Trump ain’t got nothing on me,” down right foul-mouth diatribes.
The international community and Latinos everywhere can rest assured that advocates and humanitarians and people of good conscience are on the ground in Tijuana and in the border region assisting with love and compassion in this difficult and challenging time for the people of the Caravan.
Mexico the nation and its laws provide for compassionate treatment of those in passage. While there have been problems with treatment of migrants and there needs to be more observers and we need the international community to assist in monitoring the situation, it is important to highlight and state the following:
Article 1 of the Mexican Constitution specifically references the prohibition of discrimination motivated by ethnic origin or that which is based on national, gender, age, or ethnic origin, disability, social condition, or health, religion, opinion, preference, civil status, or any situation which goes against the human condition or that which seeks to annul the rights and liberties of people.
After this week’s unconscionable acts by a small segment of reactionary anti-immigrant Playas de Tijuana residents, humanitarian advocates are underscoring that those who entered the country of Mexico in an informal manner as a migrant (or as in the present case in need of resettlement due to the current exodus), is no further a motive to criminalize—as is stipulated in Article 2 of Mexico’s Immigration Law.
Back at the corner of Latin America, the tide is coming in. It’s going to be cold tonight. The call is out to surround the Caravan with love. Love overcomes hate.
El Amor No Tiene Fronteras.
Mexican-born Sara Gurling is a progressive Democrat elected in 2017 as a California Democratic Party 80th Assembly District Delegate. She is a trade unionist with more than 20 years representing workers rights and serves as a Labor Representative with the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United. She was the Director of Organizing with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of San Diego and is known primarily as a humanitarian pro-justice labor organizer, immigrant rights activist and labor studies college teacher. She is also the president emeritus of Border Angels. Her journalistic radio and print work is featured in the United States and Mexico.