TIJUANA (Border Report) — A shelter set up to house expelled Venezuelan families has remained open beyond its intended closing date out of necessity, the head of Tijuana’s Migrant Affairs Office said.
The shelter was slated to close the first week of December, but will remain open until the end of the year, said Enrique Lucero, director of the city’s Migrant Affairs Office.
“We’ll finish out the year with the migrants, we still don’t have a place to transfer them to because other shelters are all operating at maximum capacity,” he said. “We have 6,000 migrants city-wide.”
Lucero unveiled a plan to start a project allowing migrants to legally find and keep jobs.
“It’s complicated because some don’t have access to bank accounts unless they have passports,” said Lucero. “We’re trying to see if we can get them temporary work.”
With Title 42 up in the air, Lucero explained how some migrants are contemplating moving on to other Mexican border cities.
“Many want to go to Matamoros and Juarez because they assume that once Title 42 ends, it will be easier to access ports of entry in those areas,” he said.
Before Title 42 was instituted, migrants were allowed to approach ports of entry and ask for asylum. But this has not been the case since the policy was instituted at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
As of this week, the temporary shelter for migrants set up inside a city sports complex has 162 migrants, including 14 families, mostly from Venezuela, Lucero said.
Dario Figueroa, one of the migrants, said he is still hopeful the end of Title 42 will allow them into the U.S.
“We can’t go back to Venezuela, our last hope is to carry on here stranded, thank God Mexico has treated us well,” said Figueroa. “It’s helped us quite a bit, there’s a lot to be grateful for, and not to sound ungrateful, but we don’t want to stay here.”