Hugo Castro, one of the organizers of the farmworker encampment, digs rows for irrigation in the encampment garden, Calexico, March 18, 2021. Zoë Meyers/inewsource

Activists led by the community group Calexico Needs Change have set up an encampment for farmworkers on a small piece of land alongside the U.S.-Mexico border wall. 

It offers a place to sleep during the week so the farmworkers can avoid challenging daily commutes from their homes in Mexico. Without the encampment, the workers would have to leave their homes as early as midnight so they don’t get stuck in long lines at the border later in the morning.

For some farmworkers who are experiencing homelessness, it is their home for now.


inewsource is an independent and nonprofit journalism organization in San Diego, and relies on grants and philanthropists to support its investigative content. Click here to learn more.


The conditions are rough. There’s no running water or electricity. Outside of the shadow of the border fence, there’s little shade.  

The community activists who established the encampment in January envision a space that can fill a variety of needs for farmworkers, but the future of the land remains uncertain.

The Calexico City Council recently voted to sell the property to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers without realizing the federal government was no longer able to purchase the land due to President Joe Biden’s proclamation halting border wall construction. 

Sergio Macias walks from the Calexico farmworker encampment to downtown where he will get a ride to work before dawn, Feb. 24, 2021. Zoë Meyers/inewsource
Sergio Macias walks through an intersection in downtown Calexico where he and other farmworkers gather for work before dawn, Feb. 24, 2021. Zoë Meyers/inewsource
Farmworkers stack boxes of cabbage at Vessey Farms in Holtville, Feb. 23, 2021. Zoë Meyers/inewsource
A farmworker harvests cabbage on Vessey Farms in Holtville, Feb. 23, 2021. Zoë Meyers/inewsource
A Biden-Harris campaign flag flies at the Calexico farmworker encampment on March 18, 2021. Zoë Meyers/inewsource
Humberto Chavez waters plants in a new garden at the Calexico farmworker encampment on March 18, 2021. Zoë Meyers/inewsource
Humberto Chavez passes in front of a tent that serves as the office at the Calexico encampment, March 18, 2021. Chavez is a retired farmworker who had been at the encampment for more than a week after undergoing a medical procedure. Zoë Meyers/inewsource
Hugo Castro, one of the people who helped build the farmworker encampment in Calexico, shows crosses that he has taped to the border fence, March 18, 2021. Zoë Meyers/inewsource
Alejandro Cazares stands in the entrance to the encampment office in Calexico on March 18, 2021. Zoë Meyers/inewsource
An ornate lamp sits inside a tent in the Calexico farmworker encampment on March 18, 2021. Zoë Meyers/inewsource
José Mundaca talks with Alejandro Cazares at the Calexico farmworker encampment on Feb. 23, 2021. Zoë Meyers/inewsource
Antonio Cuevas fries chicken in his tent at the Calexico farmworker encampment on March 18, 2021. Cuevas lives with his wife in Mexicali but works in the Imperial County fields. Zoë Meyers/inewsource
Show comments