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Laura Garcia  |  Issue: November | December 2012
Photo: Angeles sin Fronteras
(L) Altar for Dia de los Muertos in honor of those who have been killed on the U.S./Mexico border. (R) Protests against the border abuses of deported migrants.

MEXICALI, MEXICO—Night after night dozens of migrants emerge from the shadows and cross the streets of downtown to reach the Hotel del Migrante, home to deportees from the U.S.

The Hotel del Migrante is two blocks from the International Border between Mexicali and Calexico. The hotel’s doors were opened in 2010 by its founder and director Sergio Tamai. During the two years of operations Hotel del Migrante has given lodging to 50,000 deportees from the U.S.

The number of deportees to Mexicali has increased in the thousands. In the past it wasn’t this many, but things changed about five months ago. Now deportees from other cities in the U.S. are being sent to the airport of Imperial, Imperial Valley, Calif., not more than ten miles from the Calexico/Mexicali border, instead of Texas. From Texas the undocumented immigrants were deported to Ciudad Juarez and Reynosa, Tamaulipas.

Volunteers on this side of the border

The Hotel del Migrante has volunteer support on the U.S. side of the border. The Tribuno del Pueblo had the opportunity to talk to one of these volunteers, Antonio Arias. He happily told us that members of Occupy Riverside have also joined this effort.

Arias stresses that the need is very great. Hotel del Migrante, besides providing very much needed humanitarian aid, such as shelter and food, also provides something more important: dignity and respect to the deportees.

For Arias this humanitarian work is very important because it can begin breaking the barriers in people’s thinking. In doing this humanitarian work, people start to question the root of the problem. In his opinion people need to fight for social change, alongside with providing humanitarian aid, because humanitarian aid alone will only prolong human suffering.

Arias makes an appeal for donations. Please make checks or money orders payable to Our Roots Multicultural Center, Inc and mail to:

Our Roots Multicultural Center, Inc

133 East Brighton

El Centro, CA 92243

Please make sure to specify at the bottom of the check, that the donation is for Hotel del Migrante.

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