Some Tijuana residents say new border crossing pushes them back

TIJUANA (Border Report) — Guillermina Fernandez has lived near the Mexico-US border in Tijuana, on the east side of Tijuana, for 30 years.

When she first moved to Colonia Las Torres, there weren’t really any barriers and her neighborhood had no running water or electricity.

Since then, utilities have been installed and she has seen the border wall rise just meters from her home, which she shares with her two daughters and her husband.

Five years ago, she started selling plants and flowers from a nursery she opened on her property.

Guillermina Fernandez stands in her nursery, on land she was forced to sell to the Mexican government to make way for the Otay Mesa East port of entry. (Jorge Nieto/Special for the border report)

The business flourished and became his family’s main source of income.

Fernandez said recently that members of the Mexican government approached her to sell some of her land to use for the Mexican side of the new port of entry at Otay Mesa East.

“They said it was progress and shouldn’t be opposed to it,” she said in Spanish.

“They said it was progress and shouldn’t be opposed.”

Guillermina Fernandez, who lives near the planned port of entry of Otay Mesa East

Fernandez says she sold 10 meters of her land to the government.

“To be honest, they didn’t pay much, they could have paid a lot more,” she said.

Now, she says, her neighbors are also being approached.

“We are worried, we are very worried that they will take everything away from us,” Fernandez said.

He has been given until next month to clean up all his plants, flowers, pots, buckets and tables as construction crews are about to start leveling the ground.

“They said it was for the border crossing, then they said it was for the roadway…maybe a bridge,” Fernandez said. “Everyone is invited to return part of their belongings”

For Fernandez, the main concern is finding a good home for her plants and flowers currently in her yard, of which she estimates there are well over 1,000.

“I have to hurry to leave, I need help moving all my plants,” she said. “I actually started giving them away.”

Border Report reached out to the Mexican federal government about the border crossing and the planned border crossing project for the area, and whether it plans to purchase more land from residents. No one made themselves available to comment.

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