A humanitarian crisis is unfolding along the U.S./Mexico border as thousands of Central Americans flee to the United States.
A photographer from Sioux Falls is there documenting it all. KELOLAND News spoke with Rob Wilson briefly via Facebook to try and get an understanding of what’s happening and why.
Over 5,000 thousand migrants, fleeing violence in Central America, are seeking refuge in the border town of Tijuana as they wait to enter the United States legally.
“I’ve been documenting the Central American exodus, I met them south of Mexico City and traveled with them to the U.S. border and now I’m here in Tijuana,” Wilson said.
Photographer Wilson has been embedded with the group for three months now. He says finding shelter for all of the migrants seeking asylum has been a problem.
“They’re only processing a very small amount of people every day, so there are thousands of people backing up along these border communities and there’s just no capacity in the shelters for them they’re all over capacity.
He says some are trying to cross on their own or seek shelter in dangerous border towns.
“When the first large group of Hondurans arrived there was really no space available to them, so they ended up going to the Juarez sporting complex,” Wilson said.
But after a few days of heavy rains, the conditions became unlivable. So, they sought out another shelter in a warehouse close to an entry point and that’s where they got involved with a six day standoff with authorities after they were served with an eviction notice.
“Their lawyers were working in the federal courts in Mexico to get a temporary restraining order against the federal government to allow them to stay, but an agreement was worked out with a nearby church to house them and it’s much better living conditions, so everyone agreed peacefully to move to the new shelter,” Wilson said.
Wilson says the humanitarian crisis could get worse, because there’s a second caravan of migrants, as large if not larger than the first one, leaving Honduras next week.
He says most of the people he’s spoken with say they’d rather face detention with the possibility of living in the U.S. than to go back and face almost certain death.