Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
Fulano translated and condensed an article in Frontera.
The beach, bridges, homes and abandoned construction in Rosarito have become the home for people deported from the United States, who look at this city for the substance to survive and escape the constant attacks from the Tijuana municipal police, and they say it is better here.
The authorities are aware of their presence, but are unaware of how many deportees are seeking refuge in Rosarito, as there are no aid institutions here. However, the complaints by businessmen about the constant robberies attributed to them are more frequent.
The complaints have become more frequent in the tourist zones, where they live, but this lays in contrast with the information from the Chief of Police, who says that robberies have not increased in these areas.
At the well known bridge at Rene's located in the Southern part of boulevard Benito Juárez, where the historical restaurant of the same name is located, there lives more than a dozen people who say they were deported and several months ago had adopted that location as their home.
Norma González, who was deported to Mexico more than 1-1/2 years ago, said that the street has become her home and that with the passage of time, she has lost all hope of returning to the United States where her children are, and with whom she has lost all contact after several failed attempts to illegally reenter the United States.
She said that in her native city of Veracruz she has no relatives and she has noting to return to there. "I was in various aid institutions in Tijuana, but nothing happened, without papers, without work one ends up becoming a part of the street and always running from police harrassment," she said.
Here in Rosarito, she said, the police chase us less and she gets by cleaning houses, when she can, and collecting aluminum cans on the beaches and streets to get a few pesos.
Under the bridge, the thickness of the bushes makes them almost invisible, and they have placed some mats to sleep on and cover themselves from the night cold. They also use dry tree branches in the area to make fires and prepare their food.
Pablo Martínez, 29, is another of the inhabitants of the site. He says he was deported from the United States nine months ago, but came to Rosarito two months ago because in Tijuana the police "arrested" him all the time.
"The police here, even when one walks around doing nothing, don't bother us. Over there in Tijuana, they grab us all the time to take us to jail, and that is why I came here," he explained.
Originally from Oaxaca, Pablo Martínez said he was deported from Los Angeles where he lived for 3-1/2 years, and even though he sometimes thinks of returning to his home state of Oaxaca, he stays because it will be even worse there.
"Sometimes I think about going back, but I will just be more screwed than here, and it is worth the trouble to risk sneaking back into the United States, where I have relatives who will help me if I get back," he said.
The story of Julio César Martínez is similar to the others, although he only was deported four months ago from Arizona, where he was arrested by immigration officers. He was sent to Oklahoma, and from there to California to end up in Tijuana.
"I came from Tijuana to Rosarito because in Tijuana the cops are very tough, and they arrest one for nothing and it is not fiar to spend hour after hour in jail for the crime of walking the streets without papers," he said.
"A buddy took me to Rosarito," he said, "where there are more places to collect aluminum cans and make 100 to 200 pesos a day ($7 to $14) from their sale to at least earn enough to eat, because nobody will give us work."
The reasons he gave for not getting work were his appearance and his lack of papers. Notwithstanding that, he has not lost the hope of saving enough to try the ever increasingly difficult task of illegally entering the United States, before he resorts to thievery.
Business people complain
Rosa María Plasencia, president of the Business Coordination Council of Rosarito and a restaurant owner in Puerto Nuevo, said that a large number of the so-called "barkers" who operate at that location are deportees, who in many instances speak English perfectly and are ex-convicts from the prison that is near the lobster village.
She said that for many years, Puerto Nuevo attracted a large number of American tourists, and so it was beneficial for the restaurants and businessmen to hire these people because of their command of English. But in many instances, their appearance and the work they do outside the businesses to bring in the customers damages the image of the location, and now they are asking the authorities to not permit this activity, which is also prohibited by existing regulations.
For his part, Manuel Padrés, president of the Rosarito Hotel and Motel Association, said that taking advantage of the good climate in the region, which has increased visitors to the area, the number of people deported from the United States is most visible in the tourist zone. This is a worrying situation, as many of them rob the tourists.
In this regard, he has asked the authorities to strengthen monitoring and make significant efforts to guarantee the safety of those who visit the tourist locations in the city.
Rosarito Firemen and Lifeguards chief, Héctor Castelán, said that he has received many reports of deported people who walk around the beach zone looking for places to remain, and this has generated tension among the residents.
He added that he is unaware of how many there are, but their physical characteristics stand out from the visitors who normally visit the beach. Many of them have tattoos, unappropriate clothing for the beach, and in many instances their Spanish is mixed in with English words. The worst is that they are looking for a way to survive, be it legal or not.