Tijuana, Mexico, April 29, 2019 – On Sunday, April 28, 2019, the celebration of the 32nd anniversary of Casa del Migrante was held in Tijuana, an event open to the community in gratitude for their generosity and support during these years of service to migrants.
The celebration began with the presentation of the Annual Results Report, where the Director of the Organization, released data related to the services provided to migrants during 2018, of which he highlighted that a total of 5,895 people were supported, which, 73% were men deported and the other 27% corresponded to displaced persons from southern Mexico and asylum seekers. Of the main places of origin, in Mexico, Guerrero, Michoacán, Oaxaca, Jalisco and Puebla stood out, while foreigners came from the Northern Triangle of Central America (Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala) and Africa (Congo, Nigeria, Angola, Cameroon and Eritrea). « South Americans have been few and we have not received Venezuelans, but if we have learned anything in these 32 years, we do not know anything and this could change tomorrow and we might start receiving Venezuelans, » stated Fr. Pat.
On the other hand, he highlighted that the flows and characteristics of the migrant population continue to change and during 2018 and the beginning of 2019 the appearance of families and single men traveling with their children or siblings has been observed. « This is something that had not happened before, in recent weeks the House has been filled with children and adolescents who travel with their parents or siblings, and since they do not come with a mother they can not stay with Madre Asunta (a children shelter), I believe that we will celebrate the day of the child this Tuesday for the first time in our history. »
In this same sense and due to the change of these migratory flows, Fr. Pat shared with the assistants the new lines of action of Casa del Migrante to respond to the new challenges of migration in Tijuana, « a new stage for Casa del Migrante, we continue to grow and strengthening our team. » One of these lines of action is the Scalabrini Training Center for Migrants (CESFOM), dedicated to providing educational and employment tools to people who are already living permanently in the city of Tijuana. María José Juárez, Operations Coordinator of CESFOM mentioned that in the first year of development of the project, more than two thousand people have benefited, through 35 different courses and the support of 45 volunteer teachers. « So far all this has happened inside the shelter, however, we have a new field a few blocks away from where we hope to lay the first stone for the construction of the school in January of the next year » added Fr. Pat.
On the other hand, he announced the creation of the Refugee Protection Team, a project in coordination with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which aims to provide assistance and follow-up to foreigners who wish to request international protection in Mexico. This new line of action includes collaboration with different shelters in Tijuana and Mexicali, where applicants for refugee status are guided and are taken care of to follow up on their cases and that of their families. The team, made up of two lawyers, a psychologist, and its coordinator, treated 193 people in the first month of the project and they expect a very significant increase for the second month. In this regard, Yunuen Tenorio, the Operations Coordinator of the Team, highlighted that the objective is not only to serve beneficiaries of Casa del Migrante but also to expand access to support other migrants in the state and guarantee their protection.
« Our vision is quite simple, it is the Law of Mercy. Our purpose is to facilitate Social Reintegration and encourage the migrant to reach his goals. Realities change and not all of the migrants go to the United States. We are the first shelter to include these services of Protection and Education, this is the result of 32 years of work and experience with migrants that would not be possible without the support of the community. To welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate our migrant brothers and their families, this is the Scalabrinian Mission in Tijuana and the world. » Concluded Fr. Pat
Finally, the event continued with the festival that included a dinner hosted by the Italian Chef Natale Matteotti and entertained by the Patronato de la Opera. The gratitude is extended to all and all the benefactors and collaborators of Casa del Migrante during the 32 years of service.
Valeria Ruiz Griego, Coordinator of Casa del Migrante de Tijuana.