The federal government has announced that a new shelter for migrants who have been returned from the United States will be ready in Tijuana in two weeks.
Baja California’s federal super-delegate said authorities are working quickly to open a facility, whose capacity is expected to be 4,000 people, although he does not anticipate that number of migrants actually occupying the space.
“Whatever the number of migrants, we are determined to open this space in two weeks,” said Alejandro Ruiz Uribe. We have called on all the [local] health institutions to help us increase the number of beds and make sure we have enough medications. We are going to be able to tend to the migrants.”
The federal representative said the location of the new shelter was the abandoned Insurgentes Bazar, located only 700 meters away from the National Immigration Institute. He said that efforts to convert the space were already 50% complete.
He added that the space will be exclusively for returned migrants awaiting asylum hearings in backlogged United States courts.
Ruiz Uribe rejected accusations that the National Guard would be used to track down and deport migrants and asylum seekers, insisting that the force is in Tijuana to deter crimes like human trafficking.
“[The National Guard] is not here to hunt down migrants, they are not here to terrorize the public and that’s not the attitude that they have. I have meetings with them every morning, and they have the right attitude. They are committed to human rights.”
The delegate said the federal government does not have plans to provide security to shelters in the city and that beyond temporary housing, government assistance will be extremely limited.
“There was a drain on resources [for shelters in Tijuana], and many depend on help from churches. There will be a mobile hospital that will go from shelter to shelter to check the sanitary conditions of each location.”