Border Report

City of Tijuana cuts off electricity to migrant camp on the border

Border Report

Asylum seekers camping at El Chaparral crossing port queue to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico, on the border with the US, on August 3, 2021. (Photo by GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP via Getty Images)

TIJUANA (Border Report) — The cables that supply electric power to the migrant campsite just south of the San Ysidro Port of Entry have been cut, leaving migrants without electricity.

City crews were seen arriving Tuesday afternoon and cutting the cables.

One migrant said this will have adverse consequences on people who live at the camp.

“They left us without electricity and no way to communicate with the outside world,” said José Luis Romero Hernandez, an immigrant from Honduras. “How are we going to get information? Just about every tent had an extension line that allowed us to plug in and charge our phones and connect other electronics, it’s complicated.”

Romero said they will now have to go to a nearby store and pay to charge their phones.

“They’re going to charge us 10 pesos ($.50) to charge the phones, it’s a problem, we also have a running battle with the bathrooms, we have to pay for everything,” he said

Romero said several families have gotten together and have agreed to split the cost of buying bath tissue and other essentials.

He reportedly works a few days a week picking onions that allows him to earn enough money to pay for his phone and internet service.

“My work is irregular, I’m not sure if I can stay in Tijuana now, I used to own two barbershops in Honduras but I came here then went back and realized they had taken them away from me,” he said

The Honduran national said he used to talk with his mother on a daily basis, but now without electricity, he’s not sure if he’ll be able to keep up with that routine.

Tijuana’s Mayor, Montserrat Caballero, said she wasn’t aware of the power being cut to the camp.

“If we took this measure, I didn’t know about it, but I’m sure it was done to eliminate some sort of electrical short and prevent a possible fire in the area, if our people suggested it, I’m all for doing away with the risk,” said Caballero.

The mayor figures the migrants themselves may have tapped illegally into the power supply using what are called “little devil” connections where people on their own patch into electrical lines.

“The question about the electricity is we know these little devil connections carry a lot of risks, I can’t really talk about something that is not regulated,” said the mayor.

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