With the spread of the Coronavirus, the need to provide solutions for people “stuck in Tijuana” is more urgent than ever.
Why have they come? Formerly most migrants arriving in Tijuana were sole men, arriving from the south, attempting to cross into the United States in search of employment. Now the demographics are much more complicated.
Migrants from the south today are commonly fleeing criminal violence, political corruption and persecution, unproductive fields due to climate change, and severely limited opportunities for advancement via work or education. At present there are over 10,000 migrants on the list maintained by Mexican authorities, waiting in Tijuana for an initial asylum hearing with US officials. These people – many entire families, many single women with children and many unaccompanied minor children – do not immediately have access to traditional work opportunities in Mexico.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people deported from the United States have settled in Tijuana. Many of these deportees had never set foot before in the city, but have chosen to remain so that they would be within driving distance of their families in the southwest United States. This population includes many single men, but also single women, and women with children, almost all members of “mixed-status” binational extended families.