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Tijuana Shelters Help With US Immigration Backlog Of Haitians | KPBS
"U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement that the agency will process these migrants on a “case by case” basis. While migrants await their turn, Tijuana's shelters offer food and a place to sleep. At Madre Asunta, the Haitian women made friends with women from Central America and southern Mexico, who were also staying at the shelter. Their children played together as they communicated in a mix of gestures, smiles, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

“We’re a family,” Mevil said.

She told a Mexican woman about her difficult journey through Latin America, concluding, “I have more lives than a cat.”

The Mexican woman responded, “That means you have six more,” and they giggled together.

Footsteps away from Madre Asunta, a men’s migrant shelter called Casa del Migrante is accepting Haitian men as well as some women and children, because there aren’t enough beds at the women’s shelter.

Director Pat Murphy called the influx of migrants a “crisis” and “an emergency.”

“People here have told us, ‘there are thousands of people coming behind us,’” Murphy said.

During an especially busy day last week, Casa del Migrante slept 56 Haitians in addition to about 150 migrants from southern Mexico and Central America.

In less than two weeks, Murphy said his shelter received migrants from 11 different countries, mostly from Haiti. Murphy said he considers them refugees.

Although these migrants seek to enter the U.S., Tijuana must address the surge during the immigration backlog.

Casa del Migrante and three other Tijuana shelters are offering the migrants food and beds. Mexican immigration officials let the shelters know when U.S. Customs and Border Protection is ready to process a few more people.

“When their place in the line is ready, they call us, and we transport them right to the front door of immigration,” Murphy explained.

But he said Tijuana officials are relying too heavily on the shelters, which depend on donations.

Haitian migrants came just as the shelter was seeing a spike in Central Americans and southern Mexicans fleeing violence, Murphy said. Some had to sleep on the floor.

He said he thinks Tijuana should open a shelter of its own, like those opened during heavy rains tied to El Niño.

“They have to just admit that this isn’t a temporary problem, that this is going to continue for a while,” he said.

In the meantime, Tijuana residents are bringing food, clothes and other donations for the Haitians, Africans and other migrants.

“The best news of all this was the generosity of the people, just showing up at the door, saying, ‘here’s food for 50 people,’” Murphy said. “Even though they’re not rich themselves, they realize, ‘I may have a little bit more to share.’”

Twenty-five-year-old Haitian Jeff Son Pascal arrived at Casa del Migrante in early June, also by way of a two-month journey departing from Brazil.

Like hundreds of other migrants, he slept on the sidewalk just south of the San Ysidro Port of Entry for the first few days. Then he was redirected to the shelter while awaiting his turn to see a U.S. immigration official.

He said he is grateful for Casa del Migrante, where he and other Haitians take turns helping with domestic duties, such as washing clothes and serving food.

“The Casa is very good, very good,” he said in broken Spanish.

Son Pascal embarked on his journey alone, without friends or family, but he said he has made many friends in Tijuana, both Haitian and Mexican.

He said he dreams of a better life in the U.S.

When asked how many people are coming behind him, Son Pascal sighed and said: “Many, many, many, many, many.”"
sandiego  haiti  immigration  border  borders  mexico  brasil  brazil  tijuana  refugees  casadelmigrante  2016  migration  sanysidro  us 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Smugglers Use SENTRI Drivers To Move Drugs Across San Diego Border | KPBS
"Authorities have learned of at least three similar incidents in San Diego since then, all involving drivers enrolled in the popular SENTRI program, which stands for Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection.

There were 12.6 million SENTRI vehicle crossings in 2013, more than double the 5.9 million four years earlier.

The program enables hundreds of thousands of people who pass extensive background checks to whiz past inspectors with less scrutiny. Signing up can reduce rush-hour wait times from more than two hours to less than 15 minutes at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the nation's busiest land border crossing.

But like other pre-screening programs, there's a potential downside: The traveler can become a target, and such cases can be tricky for investigators when people caught with drugs claim they were planted.

Using magnets under cars isn't new, but this string of cases is unusual, said Pete Flores, field office director for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

"It's a cat-and-mouse game," Flores said. "Each change they make prompts a change from law enforcement, which in turn prompts them to again change their tactics."

The main targets are people who park for hours in Mexico and keep regular patterns, said Lauren Mack, spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Smugglers track their movements on both sides of the border, figuring out their travel habits. It takes only seconds to attach and remove the magnetized containers."
sandiego  sentri  border  borders  drugs  2015  mexico  us  smuggling  tijuana  sanysidro 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Tijuana: life on the political equator | Cities | theguardian.com
"In one of those speculative reports full of foreboding about our urban future, UN-Habitat has predicted that this century metropolises will start joining up like blobs of mercury, crossing international borders to form urban mega-regions. Tijuana-San Diego is an intriguing prospect because the border is not just national but forms part of an imaginary line dividing the global South and North, the developing and developed worlds. This is what Cruz calls the political equator. The question is how the two worlds on either side of it can influence each other?"



"Cruz has done pioneering work in Los Laureles. He was the first to point out that the waste from San Diego’s construction industry was being recycled into new homes here. Further along the valley, where the settlement is more precarious, the evidence is everywhere. “You see those yellow walls?” says Cruz, pointing to the side of a house. “Those are garage doors from San Diego.” Garage doors are a popular material in this canyon. The houses are works of assemblage, like habitable collages. Elsewhere, there are whole post-war prefab houses, simply transplanted from the San Diego suburbs by truck. In crowded areas these are sometimes raised up on metal stilts, right on top of another house – a phenomenon Cruz calls “club sandwich urbanisation". He was so captivated by this practice that at one point he collaborated with amaquiladora to cheaply manufacture space frames specifically for raising up old bungalows. It was a kit of parts for building club sandwiches.

The use of readymades like this has led Cruz to describe such neighbourhoods in Tijuana as purely productive, as opposed to the consumption-based model across the border. Here, San Diego’s waste is recycled to build new communities. Revealing this symbiotic relationship was one way of ascribing value to a type of settlement that is under-respected. “This level of activity needs to be amplified if we’re going to understand the sustainable city,” he says. But while Cruz celebrates such creativity, he is careful not to imply that such communities don’t still need help.

Most of Los Laureles is informal, technically an illegal squatter settlement, but many of the residents have begun the process of acquiring land titles. It is a slow process through which residents incrementally buy legal status and in exchange get the utility services and the political representation that come with it.

This is the kind of administrative process that Cruz has been at pains to engage with. For him, architectural design is far less important than the bureaucratic systems that determine whether communities are empowered or disempowered. And this is precisely one of those cases, where informal communities have the resourcefulness to build homes out of garage doors but not the bureaucratic tools – a legal address, for instance – to find employment outside of the informal sector."



"“This is the laboratory for me in the next five years,” says Cruz. “The first thing Oscar and I want to do is to build a community centre/scientific field station to work on the pollution and water issues.” The big question is whether he can get San Diego’s administration to invest in a place like Los Laureles, whose trash washes across the border into the estuary, as a way of protecting its own ecological interests. “Instead of spending millions on the wall, they could invest in this community so that the poor shanty town becomes the protector of the rich estuary.”

As the last informal settlement in Latin America, with its nose pressed against the window of the North, Los Laureles is already symbolic. But it is also significant as the nexus of three crucial issues. Firstly, it reveals the material flows across this border: San Diego’s waste flows south to be recycled into a barrio, while the barrio’s waste is washed north less productively. Secondly, by disrupting the watershed, the border is undermining the stability of an ecological system. And Cruz’s idea is that Los Laureles should be a micro case study in transnational collaboration, so that the barrio is seen not as a slum but effectively as the guardian of the local environment. Finally, the canyon is another potential testing ground for developing land cooperatively, much as Urban-Think Tank had imagined doing in San Agustín, so that the communal agenda is not lost in the formalisation process.

For Cruz, the collision of complex issues embodied by this easily overlooked community is of global significance. “Any discussion about the future of urbanisation will have to begin by understanding the coalition of geopolitical borders, marginal communities and natural resources,” he says. “That’s why this canyon is fundamental.”"



"Cruz recognises that social change and the creation of a more equitable city are not a question of good buildings. They are a question of civic imagination. And that is something that has been sorely eroded by the neo-liberal economic policies of recent decades. Cruz is a stern critic of America’s steady withdrawal from any notion of public responsibility. He talks of “the three slaps in the face of the American public” after the 2008 crash, namely: the Wall Street bailouts, the millions of foreclosures and the public spending cuts. “It wasn’t just an economic crisis but a cultural crisis, a failure of institutions,” he says. “A society that is anti-government, anti-taxes and anti-immigration only hurts the city.”

So what is to be done? For Cruz, the only way forward is not to play by the existing rules, but to start redesigning those institutions. In San Ysidro, he has been seeking to change the zoning laws to allow a richer and more empowering community life. And changing legislation means engaging with what has been called the “dark matter” – not just the physical fabric of the city, but its regulations.

This is the very definition of the activist architect, one who creates the conditions in which it is possible to make a meaningful difference. New social and political frameworks also need designing, and this i what Cruz has been doing in San Ysidro. “Designing the protocols or the interfaces between communities and spaces, this is what’s missing,” he says. It means giving people the tools they need to be economically productive, and giving them a voice in shaping how the community operates.

In one sense, this could be misinterpreted as just yet more deregulation. But this is not a form of deregulation that enables more privatisation. On the contrary, it would allow more collective productivity and a more social neighbourhood. Here, the architect and the NGO become developers not with a view to profit, but to improve the prospects of the community. “We need to hijack the knowledge embedded in a developer’s spreadsheet,” says Cruz.

In San Ysidro lies the seed of an idea, which is that the lessons of Latin America are gradually penetrating the border wall. What Cruz is trying to do is challenge the American conception of the city as a rigidly zoned thing servicing big business on the one hand and some quaint idea of the American dream on the other. Instead, the city could be more communal, more productive. And he’s drawing on the much more complex dynamics of informal economies, where no space goes to waste, where every inch belongs to a dense network of social and economic exchanges. That’s the model he’s using to try to transform policy in San Diego. The regulations need to be more flexible, more ambiguous, more easily adapted to people’s needs. This is not a Turneresque laissez-faire attitude, but an attempt to get the top-down to facilitate the bottom-up.

And while much of that may sound somewhat utopian, the San Ysidro project has had a stroke of luck that may soon make it a reality. Cruz is now the urban policy advisor to the mayor. As the director of the self-styled Civic Innovation Lab, he heads a think tank operating out of the fourth floor of City Hall, which means that San Diego now has a department modelled on the policy units that were so transformative in Bogotá and Medellín.

What we have here is a Latin American architect, steeped in the lessons of Curitiba, Medellín and Tijuana, embedded within the administration of a major US city. And it’s clear that Cruz is establishing a bridgehead for the lessons of Latin America to find new relevance across what was once an unbridgeable divide. It’s early days, but the implications may well be radical."
justinmcguirk  teddycruz  tijuana  border  borders  architecture  2014  mikedavis  politicalequator  loslaurelescanyon  sandiego  mexico  us  latinamerica  empowerment  bureaucracy  process  politics  geopolitics  squatters  oscarromo  infrastructure  medellín  curitiba  sanysidro  urbanism  urbanplanning  urban  cities  policy  economics  activism  medellin  colombia 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Casa Familiar
"“The mission of Casa Familiar allows the dignity, power, and worth within individuals and families to flourish, by enhancing the quality of life through education, advocacy, service programming, housing and community economic development.”

Casa Familiar is a 501(c)(3), community-based, exempt organization incorporated in the State of California in 1973. We were originally organized in 1968 under the name of Trabajadores de la Raza, San Diego Chapter, to serve Spanish-speaking monolingual clients in the community of San Ysidro. Over the years, our services and target population have expanded to include all of South San Diego’s population. While area demographics virtually ensure that the majority of our clients continue to be Latino, Casa Familiar welcomes clients from all walks of life, regardless of race, ethnic background, national origin, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation.

Casa Familiar is a widely recognized authority when it comes to understanding the unique challenges faced by border communities. We respond to what is known to be a multidimensional concern with an appropriately holistic approach—We offer over fifty programs spanning the program areas of Human Services, Community Development, Recreation Services, Technology, Arts and Culture, and Education."

[See also: http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2010/smallscalebigchange/projects/casa_familiar ]
sandiego  tijuana  sanysidro  teddycruz  housing  development  border  borders  communitydevelopment 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Borderblaster: Transmission 6 'Mixtape for Crossing' | San Diego | Artbound | KCET
"What song comes to mind when you think of the border? We asked individuals who work at the crossing and live on either side of the border this question and compiled their answers for our final Borderblaster Live Recording Event: Mixtape for Crossing. The project's finale invited individuals to contribute songs along with the stories behind those songs to the creation of a collaborative mixtape that would be the basis of Transmission 6--the final transmission of Borderblaster."
borderblaster  tijuana  sandiego  2012  sanysidro  misaeldiaz  mixtapes  border  borders  djganas  music  bilingual  mexico  us 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Shantytown, U.S.A. - Issue 014 - GOOD
"Behind the precariousness of low-income communities, says Cruz, there is a sophisticated social collaboration: People share resources, make use of every last scrap, and look out for each other. Cruz is incorporating this resourcefulness into the planning of two new developments, in San Ysidro, a border-town community in southern San Diego, and in Hudson, New York. If they work as planned, these projects will become powerful case studies for a new approach to urban development that could be implemented across the country.

In collaboration with the nonprofit Casa Familiar, the San Ysidro development will include 30 housing units alongside spaces where residents can run small businesses."
us  mexico  borders  teddycruz  tijuana  sandiego  sanysidro  architecture  design 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Americans stranded at border when fence gets fixed - SignOnSanDiego.com
"It had been there for years: a narrow hole clipped from the barbed wire fence separating San Ysidro and Tijuana. Since the late 1920s, thousands of American tourists returning from Mexico had squeezed through the opening at night, bypassing the big iron gates at the international border, which closed promptly at 6 p.m. daily.

The fence had been built by the Federal Bureau of Animal Industry. It was not there to put the brakes on immigration; the U.S. government was unconcerned about illegal immigrants. The wire fence was there to stop cattle. Mexican steer often wandered across the border, sometimes carrying ticks, which infected American cattle."
borders  mexico  us  sandiego  sanysidro  tijuana  history  fences 
june 2010 by robertogreco

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