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Encampments of Migrants Gather at the Border in Jacumba Hot Springs: Journalist’s Notebook

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Encampments of Migrants Gather at the Border in Jacumba Hot Springs Journalist's Notebook

In Jacumba Hot Springs, California, a border town along the U.S.-Mexico wall, there is a diverse population living in encampments; the most of them do not speak English. The migrants come from China, India, Turkey, and Mexico.

There are well over 700 people residing in the camp, divided into smaller communities according to their nationality. Most people sleep on the gravel, using their backpacks as pillows and their clothes as a shelter from the weather. The fortunate ones have tents.

There are just two port-o-potties for the hundreds of people staying here, and people are building tents out of trash and mesquite wood. According to a senior U.S. Customs Border Patrol official, smugglers are taking advantage of a lack of border resources by using these rural routes, which is their latest pattern.

Comparable pictures can be found in the vicinity of Lukeville, Arizona, where U.S. Customs and Border Protection temporarily halted operations on Monday to allow agents to handle “increased levels of migrant encounters” at the border that are “fueled by smugglers peddling disinformation to prey on vulnerable individuals.”

A teenage African boy who spoke shaky English approached us in the middle of the mayhem. He was so in need of our assistance, but he wouldn’t give us his name for fear that it would affect his refugee status. He informed us that the cartels had transported him to the region early on Monday morning, and he had entered the United States through a gap in the border wall. He presented us with a white wristband that he had received from Border Patrol agents earlier that day, with the assurance that they would return to retrieve them for systematic processing.

But that adolescent was still there, waiting, Tuesday night, as we prepared to leave the camp. And suddenly new yellow bracelets from Border Patrol had appeared. The crowd of individuals nearly trampled on one other as they rushed the five agents delivering them, trying to form a line.

We tried to get near enough to ask even though none of the agents are supposed to speak with us.

I exclaimed at the officers, “What are those bracelets for?”

“They are utilized for processing. To board the busses,” responded one of the agents to my shouts.

“When am I leaving?” said the young African child.

The agent said, “We’re going to try today.” “Women with babies first.”

“However, more mothers and infants arrive every day. The young youngster answered, “It’s not feasible.

“I thought I was coming here to [have] a better life,” the adolescent said to us before departing. I’m now sleeping on the sand, but at least I should be treated like a human. That isn’t considerate.

This is happening in the face of Republican senators’ insistence that financing and significant border security be linked to the Biden administration’s projected $105 billion in foreign aid for Israel and Ukraine. Republicans want more resources and security, therefore they voted against this emergency spending plan in the Senate on Wednesday.

Off-camera, a young Colombian mother we spoke with explained to us how many of these groups are arriving in this country. They take a plane to Tijuana, Mexico, where they check into a designated hotel and wait for the cartels. Their phones shut off as soon as they are picked up, making it impossible to find them. According to the official, the cartel members transport them to the border and leave them close to the wall break.

Fearful for their life, no one will go on television to tell us this.

Camp residents claim that the federal government of the United States is not providing them with any assistance. San Diego-based NGOs have made an effort to help and are collaborating with neighborhood volunteers like Sam Schultz to distribute food and other supplies to families. They cooked over 800 meals on Tuesday, including P&J sandwiches and bowls of beans. In less than half an hour, everything was gone.

The CBP One app, a mobile application that provides access to a range of CPB services, is being pushed by CBP and the Biden administration on immigrants; however, it is currently only available in English, Spanish, and Creole. There is a daily limit on the number of appointments that may be scheduled through the app, and it has numerous technical issues. According to volunteers, visitors to this area of the border simply do not have this option.

“There’s no doubt that society will pay a larger price for this. This kind of population inflow is just unmanageable without being a burden to society, Schultz informed us.

“Not one person wishes to remain in this place. Not even one. One of my regular questions is, “Where do you wanna go?” to everybody I can talk to. New York and New Jersey are always at the top of the list. Minneapolis and Chicago fall behind. Amazingly, Salt Lake City is well-liked. One never knows,” he continued.

The low 40s were reached in Jacumba during the course of the night. Families were scurrying to gather wood from a nearby scrub area to build fires to stay warm as the sun started to drop and we prepared our belongings to leave.

The official claimed that cartel groups in Mexico prey on rural communities with few resources available to law enforcement. It has been challenging for the Department of Homeland Security to promptly address the bottleneck effect that has resulted from this.

The senior CBP official told ABC News, “We are obviously in a challenging moment of encounters on the border and have been for some time.”

The person stated that nothing is perfect but “we see the Border Patrol every day out there working to prioritize getting people who are vulnerable or have some sort of, you know, a possible risk for spending any sort of time out in the field in the custody as quickly as possible.”

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