TIJUANA (Border Report) — About 1,000 Venezuelan migrants have been expelled from the U.S. into the city of Tijuana since Oct. 12, well below projections of 200 per day but enough to fill shelters beyond capacity, the director of Tijuana’s Migrant Affairs Office said.

Enrique Lucero stated while some migrants have been taken to shelters, others have traveled to Mexico City to formally apply for asylum.

The Department of Homeland Security has announced plans to “lawfully and safely bring up to 24,000 qualifying Venezuelans into the United States,” provided they meet certain criteria.

There’s a critical shortage of bed space in shelters throughout Tijuana. (Jorge Nieto/Special for Border Report)
Migrants at shelters are fed basics such as lentils and tortillas. (Jorge Nieto/Special for Border Report)

According to the DHS website, to be eligible, Venezuelans must:

  • Have a supporter in the United States who will provide financial and other support;
  • Pass rigorous biometric and biographic national security and public safety screening and vetting; and
  • Complete vaccinations and other public health requirements.

While some Venezuelan migrants are trying to follow this path in Mexico City, others are choosing to remain in Tijuana hoping the asylum doors swing open for them.

“We’re waiting for help from any organization that can give us a hand,” said Jose Rodriguez, a migrant staying at the Migrant Alliance shelter. “Little by little we’re trying to get situated.”

Jose Rodriguez is a migrant from Venezuela recently expelled from the U.S. (Jorge Nieto/Special for Border Report)

At the shelter where Rodriguez is staying, volunteers show up to help migrants fill out forms and to answer questions, but legally there is very little they can do.

“Most of us in the group here are somewhat confused, we hear some things, then something else, we are in limbo,” said Rodriguez.

Migrant Alliance is operated by José María García Lara, who told Border Report his facility and others across the city aren’t in a position to accept more Venezuelans.

“There’s so many Venezuelans we don’t know where we can place them, there’s no more room in shelters in Tijuana, they’re all full,” said García. “We’re in a migrant crisis all along the border zones, the shelters continue to be filled, this has been happening for weeks, a few months.”

Last week, Lucero announced plans to set up a shelter at one of the city’s sports units that would house up to 300 migrants, but the facility is still not set up.