Want to Help Migrants and the Needy in Tijuana?

Created: 03 January, 2019
Last update: 27 July, 2022

Por Manuel Ocaño

A small fence separates densely populated Tijuana, Mexico, right, from the United States in the Border Patrol’s San Diego Sector. Construction is underway to extend a secondary fence over the top of this hill and eventually to the Pacific Ocean.

There are organizations on both sides of the San Diego-Tijuana border that are set up to receive cash and in-kind donations from Southern California residents and deliver that help to families fleeing from violence and poverty.

Bridge of Love Across the Border is a group founded when the previous caravan arrived in Tijuana in Spring 2018 with the intention of helping members of the LGBT community in that caravan. However, they are now serving all migrant families in need. For additional information, please visit Bridge of Love Across the Border or Birdie Gutierrez on Facebook.

Close to 600 of the families that have petitioned for asylum in recent months have been conditionally released; however, all Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does is drop them off in the streets of San Ysidro or Otay Mesa without so much as a word as to what to do. The San Diego Rapid Response Network has been coming to their aid. If you want to help, their number is (619) 536-0823.

Another organization that has rescued many families in critical situations after being abandoned with small children upon their conditional release has been the Minority Humanitarian Foundation. For more information, visit www.minorityhumanitarianfoundation.com or call (619) 288-6450.

In Tijuana, the Salvation Army has two locations, one of which is exclusively for women. Their offices are located at e Aquiles Serdán 11585, in the lower part of the Colonia Libertad neighborhood. To contact them from San Diego, please dial 011 52 664 683 2694.

La Casa del Migrante (Migrants’ House), run by the Catholic Order of Saint John Baptist Scalabrini, patron saint of immigrants and refugees, is located on Galileo 239, in the Colonia Postal neighborhood. They can be reached at 011 52 664 682 5180.

While Casa del Migrante helps male immigrants and deportees, next door is Casa de la Madre Asunta, which helps deported or immigrant women and mothers, including those with small children. Their number is 011 52 664 683 0575.

In the north end of Tijuana, the Movimiento Juventud 2000 shelter currently serves dozens of Central American mothers and their children. They have also opened a camp for deported Mexican men who had nowhere to go after the caravan overwhelmed all available shelters. Their address is Avenida Constitución 205, and their number is 011 52 664 210 0302.

El Barretal, a former auditorium now turned into a shelter that can house nearly 2,000 immigrants, is the most remote of the shelters. It is located in the Mariano Matamoros neighborhood, and receives funding from the Mexican federal government and a few international organizations. The full address of the shelter is: Ruta Mariano Abasolo 10998-11016, Matamoros Norte-Centro-Sur, Mariano Matamoros, Tijuana. They have no phone number.

About 150 migrants that were originally at the Benito Juarez Sports Complex (the first site to be set up as a temporary shelter for the most recent caravan) and have not made it to El Barretal are currently staying in a warehouse near the border in Tijuana, located on Fernando Sánchez Ayala street, between 5 de Mayo and Mutualismo.

The addresses and directions to all shelters and organizations can be found in Google. However, if you are interested in bringing your donations to Tijuana, you can contact the organizations to coordinate meeting you, so you can follow them there and back to the border.