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‘The migrants are fleeing violence and they’re met with violence’

Interview by Tribuno del Pueblo  |  Issue: February | March 2019
Estela Jiménez

Estela Jiménez

 

Estela Jiménez is one of the activists in San Diego who since the arrival of the Central American migrant caravan in December has been organizing and collecting donations for the migrants who were staying in the Benito Juárez Sports Camp.

Tribuno del Pueblo: It seems that you have been receiving many donations.

Estela Jiménez: Yes. A kitchen has been set up, though previously they were not allowed to prepare food. We did receive provisions, especially from the United States, but there are organizations from Mexico that are collaborating a little.

Despite the fact that the mayor of Tijuana took a racist, homophobic, anti-immigrant position, civil society and communities in Tijuana have responded very well with a lot of solidarity.

The protests against the migrants in Tijuana were instigated by three individuals (Mexicans from San Diego) and it resulted in protests. They are followers of president Trump. They went to instigate, to shake up the population that is regularly characterized as a community that is welcoming to immigrants.

TP: Are many of the migrants staying in Mexico?

EJ: Many of them have opted to work or stay in Mexico. They say they cannot return to Honduras. They are people fleeing violence, a low-intensity war, an undeclared war. Some people have dispersed, and we don’t know what happened to the others. My source of information is Father Alejandro Solalinde. Two buses with women and children went missing. A complaint was filed about these disappearances.

TP: Whom do you hold responsible for this?

EJ: I hold the United Nations accountable. First, if they were seeing the forced displacement of all these people, they should have monitored it. They should have followed up since these migrants are requesting political asylum in the country they wanted. They should have intervened because the migrants needed protection, especially when the majority were women and children.

Secondly, the responsibility belongs to the state also, for not providing transportation.

TP: We know the migrants were tear-gassed at the border by ICE agents recently, what has been the effect on the migrants?

EJ: It scared them a lot. They are fleeing violence and they are greeted with violence. It should of have never happened, that use of excessive force we condemn.

We have to have a dialogue for the good of both countries in order to maintain the stability of the borders.

We the people of the United States can put pressure on them (the politicians), as well as organize actions such as Love Knows No Borders last December 10 by faith-based activists.

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