Tijuana.— When José María saw the more than 100 migrants He took the megaphone and gave the directions, but no one – apparently – speaks Spanish and no one in the Portuguese shelter.
“Onde eu peço um táxi”, which he would later know is “Where do I order a taxi?”, Chema improvises, a mobile application is his best weapon, breaks the language barrier and addresses dozens of Brazilians who, for the first time, They have arrived at the door of their hostel.
Unlike the Central American migrants who travel by caravan overland and cross the routes controlled by organized crime groups, those who come from the countries to the south of Latin America also do so by caravan but from the air and with enough money to afford it. pay for hotels in border cities, before crossing into the United States. With them the air route of migrants opens.
In less than a day, more than 200 South Americans, practically all from Brazil and a few more of Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador, they arrived in Tijuana. They have not been the only ones, last weekend another fifty were rescued after they were abandoned by their traffickers.
Outside the Movimiento Juventud 2000 shelter, located in the North Zone of the city, dozens of Brazilians wait sitting in the chairs that the director, José María García, planted for them on the sidewalk. The Portuguese of the families, who do not speak Spanish, took over the Avenida Constitución. Each of them travels not with one but with several suitcases, none have asked for food, or water, some or the bathroom.
They just want to know how to order a taxi to register at one of the hotels – located in the main commercial areas of Tijuana– where they booked from Brazil.
Elizangela is one of 158 migrants from Brazil who arrived last Thursday. She, along with her husband and their two children, a young man and a girl who is not over 12 years old, wait sitting on the sidewalk of the shelter for a private driver to come and take them to their next destination, before changing gears. country.
“We come as tourists, I love my country, I love Brazil, my husband and I have work, we only came to meet,” says the woman, who uses a mobile application to understand and answer the questions.
-But there are more than 100 people from Brazil who came to the same city and at the same time, do you think they all come as tourists? Or possibly some if they want to cross into the United States?
“Well, I can’t say good for them,” he replies, “but maybe some do want to cross.”
But the numbers for the Mexican and US government are clear. Between the figures of 2020 and 2021 there is a record on the arrival of migrants of Brazil, are historical figures for both countries.
According to the latest monthly newsletter of the Migration Policy Unit (UPM) Baja California was the second state in the country –only after Chiapas- with the most South Americans presented to the National Migration Institute (INM). Between January and September of this year there were 811 in total; Throughout 2020 the figure barely reached 61.
In a press release last August, the Border Patrol Chief in San Diego, Aaron M. Heitke, revealed that officials of the corporation identified an unprecedented number of Brazilian citizens, since October 1, 2020 they have detained more than 7,300 migrants from that country, compared to 330 during the same previous period.
Directors of shelters such as La Roca de Salvación, Embajadores de Jesús or Movimiento Juventud 2000 identified when they arrive in the city, migration personnel give them a permit of less than two weeks, but the same people responsible for crossing them pick them up at the facilities, with payments up to $ 30,000.
“They explained to us that the INM leaves them as a tourist and is only giving them permission for 10 days to move only in Tijuana because they say they come to see them… they don’t need more time because they already bring a pollero… they go to the bathroom and take the picture and Let’s go, ”explained an activist who visits the shelters, who preferred not to be identified.
Less than two hours have passed since more than 150 migrants arrived at the hostel led by José María, at that time there are practically only two or three families left, but even they are also waiting for their driver.
Elizangela plays with her daughter in her arms. While her husband does not stop putting his hand to his forehead, they all turn from one side to another every time a car passes in front of them, finally a truck pulls up and, without saying a word, a man gets out of the car to help them to load your luggage. They all get on and go.
Also read: More than 200 migrants from Brazil arrive in Tijuana