TIJUANA (Border Report) — Guillermina Fernandez has lived near the Mexico-U.S. border on Tijuana east side of Tijuana for 30 years.
When she first moved into Colonia Las Torres, there wasn’t much of a barrier, and her neighborhood had no running water or electricity.
Since then, utilities have been put in and she’s seen the border wall go up just a few meters from her home, which she shares with her two daughters and husband.
Five years ago, she began selling plants and flowers out of a nursery she started on her property.
The business has thrived and has become her family’s primary source of income.
Fernandez says recently, people from the Mexican government have approached her about selling some of her land to be used for the Mexican side of the new Otay Mesa East Port of Entry.
“They said it was progress and not to stand in the way of it,” she said in Spanish.
Fernandez says she sold 10 meters of her land to the government.
“Truth be told, they didn’t pay very much, they could’ve up paid a lot more,” she said.
Now, she said, her neighbors are also being approached.
“We worry, we’re very worried they are going to take everything away,” Fernandez said.
She’s been given till next month to clear out all her plants, flowers, pots, buckets and tables as construction crews are set to begin grading the land.
“They said it was for the border crossing, then they said it was for the roadway … maybe a bridge,” said Fernandez. “Everyone is being asked to turn over some of their property”
For Fernandez, the main concern is finding a good home for her plants and flowers currently in her yard, which she estimates is well over 1,000.
“I have to hurry to vacate, I need help moving all my plants,” she said. “In fact, I’ve started giving them away.”
Border Report reached out to Mexico’s federal government about the border crossing and the planned border crossing project for the area, and whether it plans to buy more land from residents. No one has made themselves available for comment.