TIJUANA (Border Report) — With the return of the Migrant Protection Protocol program, also known as “Remain in Mexico,” many border communities in Mexico along the border are bracing for an influx of expelled migrants from the United States.

And those who operate shelters are saying it will be impossible to house all these migrants considering there is no available space now, according to José Moreno, president of the Pro Defense Coalition for Migrants in Baja California.

“This is going to create a grave problem in cities like Tijuana and Mexicali,” said Moreno. “The impact is going to be severe for us along the border, we’re in a critical situation.”

Moreno said the United States government should pay for shelters as a way to provide refuge to migrants sent back to Mexico.

“The Mexican government would have to set certain rules as people come in because the last time it was very rough and there was no coordination, we’re assuming if the government went along with it, it did with certain conditions,” he said.

Moreno wants officials in Mexico to verify MPP applicants being returned have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and are meeting all sanitary conditions before returning to Mexico as a way to avoid a surge in the virus.

“You’re going to see what we’re already seeing in shelters now with operators bearing all the weight to keep doors open and serving migrants, this is not healthy for the border region,” Moreno said.

Moreno is suggesting migrants be sent back through cities that can handle the influx of people, but where that could be he wasn’t sure.

According to the College of the Northern Border in Tijuana, a think tank for immigration and border experts, anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 MPP migrants are expected to be returned to Mexico in the coming months.