Temporary shelter on hold as Venezuelan expulsions fall below expectations

TIJUANA (Border Report) — When the U.S. Customs and Border Protection began expelling Venezuelan migrants on Oct. 12, officials in Tijuana were expecting 200 migrants per day to end up in their city.

It hasn’t happened.

While more than 1,000 have been sent into Tijuana, numbers have dropped dramatically over the last few days.

According to the migrant affairs office in Tijuana, only 39 Venezuelans have arrived since the weekend.

And it said that of the total number sent to Tijuana since expulsions for Venezuelan migrants began, half have chosen to go to Mexico City to begin their formal asylum applications.

The U.S. has said it will take 24,000 Venezuelan migrants who meet the criteria for asylum, but they must file their claims in Mexico’s capitol.

Tijuana officials had planned to set up a shelter at one of the city’s sports complexes to house up to 300 Venezuelans, but it has yet to open.

And now due to the low number of migrants being expelled from U.S., plans for the temporary shelter have stalled.

Migrant advocates such as José María García Lara, who operates one of Tijuana’s shelters, confirmed they haven’t seen as many Venezuelan migrants so far this week.

But García said he would like the shelter to open as planned since facilities like his are already full, and an influx of Venezuelan or other migrants could still develop.

The city has said it is also waiting for the Mexican Army to commit to running the shelter’s kitchen and help with the dispensing of meals.

For the time being, no date has been given to open the shelter.