Tijuana: Now available on both sides of the border.

I guess it’s time to stop writing about the World Cup.

El Universal’s special (daily!) Copa Mundial section is officially kaput. And that means the regular front page news is slightly harder to avoid. It’s time to face the stories about car bombs in Ciudad Juarez, highway ambushes, and street-closings instituted by narcos (in Nuevo Leon). Yes, most of this is happening in the north, not D.F. I’d still much prefer if it were condensed onto some island nation. Maybe near one of the poles.

But this past monday, the newspaper highlighted a community avoiding terror.  It zeroed in on a town of Mexicans, former Tijuana residents, living away from the usual barrage of robberies and violence. “Tijuana en paz, pero en EU” read the headline. In other words “Tijuana in peace, but in the U.S.”

The story centered around a California town called Chula Vista, where a chunk of Tijuana’s middle class, often business owners, has re-established itself.

The Mexican press does not cheerlead America (which is fine). Thus, the story’s tone was not congratulatory (Yeah, you guys got out!!!). Nor was it supportive (Way to be!). Nor was it encouraging (Can’t wait to be neighbors in Cali!)

But it wasn’t unsympathetic or hostile either.

It was…quietly mournful.

At its heart, the story was a trend piece. And here’s the thrust: People are now immigrating for security reasons, not just economic ones. All the pivotal stuff is here:

“Las zonas comerciales de enorme tradición en Tijuana, como la avenida Revolución, operan con una tercera parte de sus establecimientos en abandono. Si los propietarios de esos negocios forman parte de esta nueva casta de migrantes, es algo que tampoco puede especificarse.

“Es que se trata de un fenómeno muy nuevo, que involucra a personas que tienen recursos para conseguir una visa, o que ya son ciudadanos o residentes formales en los Estados Unidos. Pero al final, son empresarios huyendo por sus vidas, por miedo de vivir en México, porque es peligroso para ellos quedarse debido al secuestro, a la violencia”, explica Enrique Morones, quien es fundador de Ángeles de la Frontera, organización pro-migrante conocida por colocar agua por la ruta que siguen los indocumentados a través del desierto.”

I’ll paraphrase the translation: These days, there’s a new cast of  U.S. immigrants, business owners with the resources to obtain visas. With the hovering threat of kidnapping and violence, they’re fleeing for their lives.

Photo: Is this America/Mexico’s most dauntingly literal border crossing…or a nightclub in Cholula? You decide.


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