TIJUANA (Border Report) — Six migrant shelters have been built in Tijuana in the last 10 years, but city officials are realizing that it’s not enough to handle the ever-growing number of new arrivals.
In all, there are 26 shelters in this city of 2.1 million, including a new facility to house Muslim asylum-seekers.
“The network is strong due to several churches and community centers that have turned into shelters, but more are needed,” said Enrique Lucero, the head of the city’s Migrant Affairs Office.
With the arrival of several migrant caravans in 2018, Lucero says it became apparent more facilities would be needed in the years ahead to house people who will flee their homes due to violence and other factors.
Before this happened, Lucero said, there were only 10 to 15 facilities that could accommodate migrants or people deported from the United States.
“We need more shelters and we need the federal government to provide them,” he said.
As of today, there are only two shelters that have been financed by Mexico City.
Lucero tells Border Report new shelters must be set up to house and feed migrants for the long haul.
“People in transit are not staying just a few weeks, it’s months and even more than a year,” he said.
Extended migrant stays in Tijuana are due to the longer time period to secure asylum in the United States, which can take more than two years.
Lucero says there’s also a need to house unaccompanied migrant children, but right now there is only one facility set up to care for minors and it’s run by the city of Tijuana’s child protective services.
According to Mexico’s National Institute for Migration, deportations and expulsions from the U.S. into Mexico through Baja California have tripled in the last year.
It says so far this year, 52,058 people have been returned through ports of entry from California, with total “repatriations” into Tijuana listed at 39,553.