TIJUANA (Border Report) — The city of Tijuana has begun moving families out of the migrant campsite just south of the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
Crews helped the migrants load their bicycles, strollers, guitars and other personal belongings onto the back of several city vehicles.
They were being moved to a new shelter that has been set up to accommodate migrants.
“We worked to convince them,” said Enrique Lucero, director of Tijuana’s Migrant Affairs Office. “We told them that the space does have some rules but will provide free meals, counseling, education services for the children and legal assistance.”
So far, 11 families have agreed to move out of the camp, which has been active for about eight months.
“It was very difficult here,” said Miguel Cuevas. “Whenever you left you always worried about the family, now we can go to work in peace and not have to worry about anything with the help we’re going to get.”
Cuevas, his wife and four children had been at the camp for three months and said he sees this move as a new start for his family.
“The idea is to find more shelters because this one can only handle about 160 migrants because we will need to move everyone out,” Lucero said.
According to a recent survey conducted last month, 769 migrants remain at the camp including 316 minors.
“Fifty-one percent are from Mexico, 38 percent are from Honduras, 10 percent from El Salvador with another 10 percent from Guatemala,” said Lucero.
Many of the migrants have said they don’t want to move out of the camp for fear they won’t be allowed to seek asylum should the U.S. open its borders.
The migrants believe that by being close to the border, they have established their place in line.
“We’ve been telling them that regardless of where they are, the asylum process is not contingent on location, that they can seek asylum from any place within the city … we’ve been trying to convince them they will get legal help at the shelter to help them should asylum be made available to the migrants,” said Lucero.