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Justice

The Migrant Caravan Is Straining Tijuana’s Resources, and Patience

Facing deteriorating conditions in shelters, 6,000 Central American migrants and asylum seekers are stuck in Tijuana, and city leaders are getting frustrated.
In Tijuana, the city government shut down a sports complex being used as an emergency shelter for several thousand Central American migrants; now, the migrants are being housed in a former concert venue 20 kilometers away.
In Tijuana, the city government shut down a sports complex being used as an emergency shelter for several thousand Central American migrants; now, the migrants are being housed in a former concert venue 20 kilometers away.Rebecca Blackwell/AP

Yolanda Garcia handed out paper bowls to more than three dozen people crowded around huge pots of steaming chicken and rice stew. Heavy rains were falling in Tijuana, so Garcia and six other volunteers set up this ad-hoc kitchen under a plastic tent, steps away from an outdoor shelter that held more than 6,000 people—migrants and asylum seekers from Central America who have completed their 2,500-mile journey from Honduras here to the doorstep of the United States.

Garcia feels a connection to the plight of the migrants. She’s originally from the Mexican state of Guerrero, but was deported to Tijuana in 2012 after having lived for decades in Bakersfield, California. When the migrant caravan arrived on Tijuana’s beaches three weeks ago, she began preparing hot meals for them. She started cooking nine pots of stew last night, and has hardly slept a wink. To pay for this, she relies on the financial support of her husband and children who are still living on the other side of the U.S.-Mexico border.