By Adriana Ortega.
A few days after the one-year anniversary of the migrant camp at El Chaparral on February 6, the decision was made to evict all the people who were sheltering in camping houses in El Chaparral, near the Tijuana border. Unfortunately, the situation in which they lived was not dignified and they put their families and those who lived around the area at risk. The authorities did not give advanced notice about the eviction. They arrived at dawn with the support of National Guard forces, coordinated by the state and municipality. An operation was set up to transfer all the people to different shelters or have them arrange to return to their place of origin. Some were able to take their belongings, but most were not. Heavy machinery was brought in to move everything as if it were garbage.
This decision was made by the authorities considering several different issues; safety and security were problematic with irregular power cables and unsafe cooking arrangements. There were also health concerns, and the city council mentioned that there were already rodents. They judged the situation unsustainable. This location is also an important checkpoint for tourist economic activity.
These people have little hope of political asylum or government support. They fear going to a formal shelter because they fear abuse. They also do not like the restrictions of the shelters, such as limited belongings, and limited work opportunities.
For migrants, the situation is very difficult; leaving their roots, culture, and family because they fear violence and abuse from groups of thugs, then arriving in another country with nothing. Those who judge them for invading a foreign territory, saying or doing hurtful things, being discriminatory, are not practicing the acts of compassion and transcendence of nationality exemplified in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke: 25-37).
The Oblates Without Borders migrant program continues to support families who come to our community and need food and other basic necessities. Our legal clinic continues to advise and support them through legal procedures; all totally free. We assist at some shelters with supplies. Now that the camp is no longer in Chaparral, we will go out again to the streets and to other shelters providing more help to our migrant brothers.
We ask for prayer for all the migrants of the world, those who left their families and their roots for a more dignified life, but who now experience loneliness, health issues, and emotional instability. We pray for all the single mothers who migrated with their children, so that they do not become future criminals. We also ask for prayer for mothers who left their children in their country of origin to find a job with a better income. We pray for all the men who left their family to avoid lives of crime. We pray for all the children who are missing out on an academic education because of migrating. We pray for all the people who were left behind in their country and who know nothing about their relatives who were forced to migrate, especially for the mothers who see their children leave to escape a life of crime. We ask for prayer so that our governing leaders take into account immigration reforms that favor a dignified life in each nation. For all that migration entails, WE ASK FOR PRAYER.