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Federal shelter in Tijuana opens for migrants waiting for U.S. asylum

Wendy Fry, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in News & Features

TIJUANA, Mexico -- A federal shelter with a capacity for housing 3,000 migrants opened this week in Tijuana, aimed at providing services to U.S. asylum seekers waiting for the outcome of their immigration cases.

The "Carmen Serdan" Migrant Integration Center will be one centralized location where migrants can access shelter and food, as well as services for health, education, paperwork, training and employment, officials said.

It's located in an industrial park in the El Aguila neighborhood in Tijuana's Cerro Colorado borough. A brief media tour of the facility featured a well air-conditioned receiving area, small office spaces for providing services and large separated dormitory areas with metal bunk beds.

The shelter is specifically for asylum seekers enrolled in a Trump administration policy known as the Migrant Protection Protocols program or Remain in Mexico.

Rolled out in January in Tijuana and then expanded across the U.S.-Mexico border, the policy requires migrants trying to legally enter the United States to wait in Mexico to complete the immigration court process.

That process usually takes several months, sometimes up to a year, and involves multiple court hearings.


So far, only 12 people, mostly from Honduras, are being housed at the new facility.

Mexico's Deputy Secretary of Employment Horacio Duarte Olivas said the goal is to help migrants integrate into the Baja California labor market while they wait for their next court appointment in the U.S.

The humanitarian organization is helping kids around the world, around the clock.

The location of the facility is in an industrial park where migrants may be able to find factory jobs, but it is somewhat isolated from the central, urban parts of the city where other service-industry jobs and transportation may be more readily available.


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