TIJUANA (Border Report) — About 24,000 new migrants are expected to arrive in the city of Tijuana, according to Good Samaritan, a migrant advocacy group called based in Mexico.
Most of the migrants are supposed to be from the state of Michoacán, an area spun into chaos by cartels that have been fighting for control of the region’s avocado industry.
The agency’s founder, a former Catholic priest named Gregorio López Gerónimo, predicts migrants will stream into Tijuana in the coming months.
“It’s 24,000 displaced residents,” said López Gerónimo, who is also known as Padre Goyo.
During an ongoing visit to Tijuana, he said the unstable and violent nature in the state of Michoacán is forcing large groups of people, including many families, to flee their lands.
López Gerónimo stated his agency knows of 3,500 people who are already in route, folks his agency has prepared and given directions to Tijuana.
“We have shown them the protocols and explained paperwork they need to have on hand if they are to be granted access to the United States,” he said. “It’s a process, you can’t just leave the state without making a judicial claim, you need to gain a recommendation for asylum to be accepted into the Migrant Protection Protocols program.”
And López Gerónimo says he has been advising people to have their COVID-19 vaccination cards ready as a way to expedite their cases.
He also stated that migrants have five choices when looking for a border community in which to seek asylum and that most will choose Tijuana, considered safer for migrants instead of Juarez, Mexicali, Nogales and Reynosa.
“The only way they don’t get to Tijuana is if the state government stops blocking access,” López Gerónimo said.
Last week, José Luis Pérez Canchola, head of Tijuana’s Migrant Care office, said the city will continue to welcome migrants in spite of the area’s shelters already being at capacity.
According to Pérez Canchola, many migrants been streaming into Mexico in recent weeks from Guatemala through the Mexican state of Chiapas bound for border cities such as Tijuana.