TIJUANA (Border Report) — After weeks of planning and debate over the opening of a shelter primarily for Venezuelan migrants, the facility has finally opened in Tijuana.
“We’re ready,” said Enrique Lucero, head of the migrant affairs office in Tijuana.
Late Tuesday afternoon, the shelter welcomed its first 10 migrants, all of whom had been expelled from the United States.
The group was made up of men, women and children.
“They are going to have all the services they need,” said Lucero. “They’ll have food, health care, psychological assistance and legal help.”
Lucero said the shelter will have room for 300 people.
He stated that the local, state and Mexican federal officials have partnered to open the shelter, something that was in doubt just a few days ago.
“We have not seen the number of expelled Venezuelans that we were expecting, and so far, the shelters throughout the city had been housing all the migrants,” Lucero said.
But Lucero told Border Report they were informed more migrants are on the way and the city decided to finally open the shelter, which is located on the grounds of a sports complex.
“Migrants will also have a chance to gather their thoughts and plan out their next move, whether they want to remain in Tijuana, go back home or continue to seek asylum in the United States,” said Lucero.
“They’ll be able to stay for a month, longer if they choose to, we will also evaluate at that point to see if it’s feasible to keep the shelter going,” he said.
Lucero estimated that right now, there are at least 3,000 migrants in the city of Tijuana. He said most are from Mexico and Central America.
Lucero added that almost 1,000 Venezuelans have been expelled from San Diego into Tijuana, but most have left for Mexico City where they can formally apply for asylum.
The Department of Homeland Security has said it will allow 24,000 Venezuelans a chance to enter the U.S. but only if they meet certain criteria and they apply online or in Mexico’s capitol.