Migration in Tijuana is directly linked to its privileged geographic location, because the city neighbours California. 45% of immigrants that used to cross into the US, did so through Tijuana.
For many years there was a fence filled with holes that was very easy to cross, of course. In the past, people would be deported, and they would be back in the US the next day, because the border wasn't so protected.
However things began to change after 1994, when the US began to implement a series of operations across the border, with the goal of diverting the immigration flow to the mountainous and desert areas.
Tijuana is now a city that only receives deportees. People no longer come from the south to cross the border, because the immigration policies have become more stringent. 9/11 brought about an atmosphere of increased security at the border. The border was seen as an issue of national security. The recession generated a very high unemployment rate and because of this economic uncertainty, immigrants were stigmatized and seen as the cause of unemployment.
Raids and deportations began to increase. In the end, the immigrants became the scapegoat for this economic situation. In Tijuana they have no job opportunities, no IDs, nobody hires them. They're Mexican citizens, but they're undocumented in Tijuana. In Tijuana the majority of deportees end up settling in the areas near the border wall.
In the are known as "El Bordo," roughly 4,000 people live in slums, in miserable conditions. When the migrants arrive, they're in state of anxiety, destitution, and desperation. And the possibility of getting into drugs is very high. For the migrants that live in El Bordo, the drugs are right there. El bordo is Tijuana river canalization. Before it was a canal it was like a small town where people would gather before crossing into US.
The canal is in the northern part of the city, close to downtown Tijuana. In the entire length of the canal, which is very long, live about 2,500 to 3,000 people. Two years ago they started building houses with cardboard or whatever they could find. But the police comes and burns down the houses and all of their belongings. The guys call these houses "nongos."