On Sunday, a group of about 80 LGBTQ Central Americans arrived in Tijuana, the first members of a migrant caravan traveling through Mexico toward the U.S. border since October.
The group had managed to scrounge together resources for bus transportation to Tijuana and a temporary place to stay in Playas de Tijuana until they were processed for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Often, asylum-seekers report spending weeks waiting to be processed at the San Ysidro Port of Entry. Last week, the Union-Tribune reported that the existing waitlist had swelled at the port of entry to 2,500, with people waiting up to six weeks. On any given day, U.S. officials might process 60 or 30 or even zero people in line.
Authorities in Baja California and advocates who work with migrants or run shelters have been concerned about Tijuana’s capacity to house migrants, even temporarily as they wait. Tijuana has roughly 1,400 shelter beds, the Union-Tribune reported, and the city has faced shortages in housing women and children in particular. A network of shelters in the city has already raised concerns about their capacity, saying they don’t want people sleeping on the streets as the temperatures drop at night and where they’ll be vulnerable to organized crime.
The group of LGBTQ migrants who arrived Sunday had secured an Airbnb in Playas de Tijuana, an upscale neighborhood on the coast. Outside of the home, they spoke with reporters about their journey from Central America and how they hoped to be processed fairly for asylum. Read more via Voice of San Diego