For several months beginning in December, 2018, Steve Breen, editorial cartoonist at the San Diego Post, reported on the large waves of migrants arriving in Tijuana. He visited the informal migrant camps, walked the streets and sat on street corners interviewing, and drawing, men and women, young and old, asking them why they’d made their epic journeys, what they hoped to find in the U.S., and what they want out of life.
The situation on the streets of Tijuana has changed in the months since. The caravan waves have largely ended; the waves of volunteers from the U.S. offering material aid and asylum guidance have thinned out as well. Following the launch of the “Remain in Mexico” program in March, thousand sof migrants who have passed their credible-fear interviews are now living across Tijuana, surviving in shelters, hostels and on the streets, working at times and mostly relying on aid as they await distant court dates. Government agencies are reporting more crime, more murders, and more-active cartel operations on the streets.
But still the simple, personal stories collected and illustrated by Breen are as timely as ever. The story of 21-year-old Nuria is typically moving. She travels along with her small daughter from a small town in Honduras to meet up in Northern Mexico with her husband, a 35-year-old gardener without papers working in Ohio. She hopes they’ll find their way over the border, find a small home, jobs, a school for the little girl; she wants to reunite her family, to have a modest, working life together.