Tents of Hope: Inside Tijuana's Busiest Migrant Shelter By: Xochilt Lagunas

Since February 24, 1993 Movimiento Juventud 2000 has provided a home for many migrants in Tijuana, Mexico. The shelter helps give migrants a place to sleep, eat, shower, and most importantly feel safe. Movimiento Juventud 2000 started off as a small place with a capacity of 30-35 people. Its closeness to the international border line made it visible enough for migrants to find, leading towards a rapid growth of population. This gave more of a reason for the shelter to extend its walls, floors and ceiling. Up to this day, the shelter is still in the works of remodeling and is currently providing shelter to about 130 migrants.

José Guadalupe is one of the many migrants at Movimiento Juventud 2000. He not only fled Michoacán, Mexico on his own but with his entire family.

He said, “we left behind our animals, our house, everything. We came with whatever we had on and that was it. The first night that we arrived, we spent it out on the streets. The next day is when this shelter welcomed us, they treat us well.”

According to him, Mexico is a chain of corruption which is why he no longer wants to return.

He said, “where we’re from, there's more fear towards police than towards robbers. One already knows that a robber is going to steal your stuff but with the cops? If a cop takes you, there's no guarantee what's going to happen to you. A bunch of corruption, everyone is now involved with crime and that's why we no longer feel safe over there.”

Ana Gabriela López is number 1,182 according to the asylum process. She fled Honduras for survival and is hoping to receive asylum from the United States.

According to López she can’t go back to her country because her partner threatened to kill her.

She said, “for similar reasons in 2008, my brother was killed. He didn’t want to get involved in gangs and they killed him. That’s why I tell myself, I can’t go back.”

José María García Lara has been the director and founder of the shelter for the past 25 years. Lara knows that a lot of the migrants who are staying at his shelter are waiting for determination of asylum. With that reason, he lets them stay for more than 7 days. Within time anyone staying at the shelter is expected to help out in order to keep the place in good shape.

Lara says, “ it’s important for people who are seeking asylum to accept what is being offered in Mexico and later on search for other opportunities.”

The current caravan has brought the attention to many because of the massive amount of people who are seeking asylum in the United States. That issue has brought up the concern of whether shelters like Movimiento Juventud 2000 are ready to accept a large amount of people at their shelter.

Lara stated that the majority of the shelters including Movimiento Juventud 2000 are full.

He said, “we wouldn’t be able to help them all. Here in this shelter I would only be able to help out 30 people more but no more than that.”

Here's the full story on one of the most busiest migrant shelters in Tijuana, Mexico.

Many wonder what the process for asylum is. The graphic below explains the steps that many migrants have to complete in order to receive potential asylum in the United States.

Further details and information can be found in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website: https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-asylum/asylum/affirmative-asylum-process

There are many ways that one can help out shelters like Movimiento Juventud 2000. Below are some of the resources that are commonly needed.

For further details or follow up on Movimiento Juventud 2000, visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MovimientoJuventud2000/

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