New Tijuana Program Improves Area Around Border Crossing

Deportees and homeless removed and offered help through comprehensive efforts

TIJUANA.- The city government has announced a new program called "Mejora", Spanish for "improvement", aimed at helping immigrants and other people in need along the border, as well as renovating the area around the border, and effort described by the city as an attempt to "making our international port-of-entry a worthy place for locals and visitors alike."

In charge of the program is the City's Social Development Department (Sedesom), whose director, Ranier Falcón Martínez, said that the efforts done by the City of Tijuana are meant to rescue and rehabilitate the space around both the vehicular and pedestrian crossings, not just by removing homeless and deportees there but also by installing two outreach booths and provide comprehensive support.

"There are a lot of children panhandling in the area, one of the main problems there, and so social service workers from the DIF (the state welfare office) will handle cases like these and figure out if we can provide scholarships to minors. Also, we'll recommend parents who work on the border as merchants, to take their children to city administered day care centers, so boys and girls don't have to spend the entire day at the border", said Mr. Falcón.

Already, today there were 106 street children taken by child welfare services from the San Ysidro port-of-entry. Moreover, several disabled and elderly people were also in the process of being taken to different social service departments, to determine the type of support they need, like employment and economic resources.

Also, Falcón Martínez said that, the program will also try and help drug abusers through the Municipal Addiction office, offer medical services, and also enforce sales regulations on vendors along the border. Already, several street vendors were removed after they were caught without the proper permits.

The City Public Service office will carry out cleanup, painting and renovation work to improve the infrastructure heading into the U.S.

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