Tijuana’s El Chaparral plaza, where the western pedestrian route between San Diego and its southern neighbor merges in a cluster of businesses and transportation hubs, once bustled with activity at 7 a.m. on a Monday. Street vendors would sell breakfast and local newspapers to workers heading north for their shifts.
There, too, each morning, asylum seekers from across the globe would gather to wait for their numbers to be called from a notebook to begin the process of requesting protection. Others would queue up to be taken temporarily across the border to their court hearings.
Today the throngs of people are gone, chased away by a pandemic and U.S. government policy hostile to asylum seekers.
But as incoming President Joe Biden prepares to move into the White House, hope is growing in Tijuana.
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