Tish Lampert

The Children Now In Limbo In Tijuana
Location: Los Angeles
Nationality: American
Biography: TISH LAMPERT   BIO: TISH LAMPERT www.tishlampert.org TISH  LAMPERT Photojournalist, Writer & Host of “America Speaks Podcast”  Author of  We Protest: Protecting The America We Believe In  (Rizzoli, March.... read on
Public Story
The Children Now In Limbo In Tijuana
What has happened to the migrant children who have been denied asylum in the U.S.? The children who were separated from their families and then on their own had to face due process in U.S. immigration courts... or the children whose families had made the treacherous journey in the hopes of entry into the United States, fleeing desperate conditions, violence and torment in their origin countries in the Northern Triangle? Countless families, especially mothers traveling alone with their children, are now being held in Mexico because of the M.P.P. program that Trump coerced the Mexican government into enforcing. This ruling demands that Mexico hold all migrants applying for asylum and dictates that these families remain in Mexico during the process of their legal proceedings in the United States. And for those who have been denied asylum, they now find themselves forced into limbo in a Mexican shelter. What their future looks like is deeply disturbing. These mothers and their children are at great risk. Human Rights Watch has reported over four hundred cases of rape, kidnapping and violent assault of asylum seekers in the M.P.P. program. Local gangs and drug lords have been identified as taking advantage of these families misfortune.

The children that I had the opportunity of meeting at La Roca De Salvacion Shelter and at Moviemento Shelter in Tijuana have either been deported or are now victims of the M.P.P. program and have no where to go. Their families have no papers since they have fled Nicaragua and Guatemala. And for those children whose parents have been deported by the U.S., or have families they were hoping to connect with these children but cant find them, because the children are circulated throughout centers in Tijuana.
Despite the conditions that are very challenging, in crammed and harsh living quarters, the story I am telling is one of a remarkable triumph of the human spirit. The children I photographed at La Roca Salvacion taught me what resilience looks like. They were bristling with curiosity to learn. They filled my heart watching their joy of feeling like they were in real school. The School Box Program gives them this.

Many of these refugees do not feel safe. Some of these mothers feel threatened by gang lords who are looking for them, or because there is a lack of infrastructure in place in Tijuana to keep asylum seekers safe.

Yet despite the obstacles that these young children face many are filled with a hunger for life and a curiosity for education. This community of youngsters are linked by the commonality of misfortune that has placed them together. I found them open- hearted, excited with their studies, and kind to each other. There are one or two young boys that seemed very distant and deeply troubled by what they’ve been through. And yet every one of these children were heartily participating and cooperative in the class. The School Box Project happens at La Roca De Salvacion three times a week. Their appreciation is demonstrated with the respect and eagerness they show their teacher, Andrea Ricon.
I could see hope in the faces of these children, a hope that has not yet been extinguished by the trauma that has accompanied them on their journey to seek a new life. The children may no longer be in our news cycle but these young lives must not be forgotten.

By Tish Lampert —

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