TIJUANA (Border Report) — Without access to shelter space or affordable housing, eight migrant families from different parts of Mexico are renting out a rooftop near downtown Tijuana, and they have been living there for the last two months.
One migrant, who did not want to be identified, said they were stranded outside a shelter when a nearby resident approached them about using her roof.
The migrant families agreed to each pay 500 pesos, or about $25 per month, to live there.
“We feel protected and somewhat safe,” the migrant said in Spanish. “There’s a lot of people supporting us bringing blankets, clothing and food.”
The woman stated she was from the Mexican state of Michoacan.
“We can’t go anywhere else,” she said. “We want to get to the United States, in the meantime, we’ll stay here until we can find a shelter willing to take us in.”
The meal preparation takes place on a small stove on the sidewalk below.
When Border Report visited, they were cooking a pot of beans and eggs with chorizo.
“We try to live in harmony taking care of the children and cooking for one another.”
According to the migrant affairs office in Tijuana, it’s hard to say how many migrants are living on rooftops or in shelters.
But José Luis Pérez Canchola, a human rights activist in Tijuana, estimates there are 10,000 migrants in this city just south of San Diego.
“There are few resources or efforts to help the migrant population arriving in Tijuana,” Canchola said.
He also said there are many more migrants living on the streets facing difficult challenges.
“I believe the city would do right by helping these migrants who are mostly from Mexico, for one, it would cut down on a lot of crime and the trafficking of children,” he said.
He stated most of the migrants in Tijuana are Mexican and therefore require attention and support.
“What’s changed in recent years, is that most migrants now are family units, they’re not here looking for work, but they are fleeing danger back home, they need help,” Canchola said.