Mexican federal police closed a migrant shelter in the border city of Tijuana Friday, prompting protests by Central Americans who remained there after traveling in the migrant caravan to the United States.
Authorities in Tijuana cited sanitary reasons for the closure of the shelter named by the migrants as “Against All Odds” (Contra Viento y Marea), which is actually a two-story warehouse located in an area plagued by crime and prostitution.
“The site was overcrowded, poorly lit and lacked adequate facilities for food preparation,” Isain Venegas, supervisor of Mexico’s public health system, said.
Federal officials told Central American migrants that they could move to ‘El Barretal,’ a larger shelter that is about seven miles away from the U.S. border. However, many of them were opposed to the measure.
“It’s unfair that they evicted us from here. We never received a notification that they were going to come and take us by force,” Reinerio Laine, a Honduran migrant, said.
#EnEsteMomento Imágenes del desalojo del albergue para migrantes conocido como La Bodega, realizado esta tarde en Tijuana. El albergue daba asilo a cientos de centroamericanos que llegaron a esa ciudad a mediados de noviembre con la #CaravanaMigrante pic.twitter.com/t8AwjHWlkl
— PdP / Pie de Página (@PdPagina) January 4, 2019
“Images of the evacuation of the shelter for migrants known as ‘La Bodega’, held this afternoon in Tijuana. The shelter gave asylum to hundreds of Central Americans who arrived in that city in mid-November with the Migrant Caravan.”
By mid-afternoon, several dozen migrants had refused to leave. Others packed their belongings and made their way to nearby shelters, and dozens waited for a bus that would take them to El Barretal.
“We would like that President [Andres Manuel] Lopez Obrador comes to see what conditions we are living in,” Maria Claros, a 28-year-old Honduran, said.
For its part, Mexico’s National Institute of Migration (INAMI) remains committed to the migrants.
“INAMI officials stay around the facilities of various shelters with the aim of providing humanitarian aid, first aid, migratory assistance, guidance and information to migrants who request it,” the INAMI said through a press release.
The people evicted from the Tijuana shelter are part of the thousands of Central American migrants who crossed the bridge between Guatemala and Mexico, on Oct. 20, 2018, on their way to the United States.