Tijuana shelters are full as increasing number of asylum-seeking families wait at San Diego border

SAN DIEGO -- Federal officials are seeing a steep increase in families and unaccompanied minors seeking legal asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego, and shelters in Tijuana report they are housing record numbers of migrants waiting their turn.

The number of people who are part of a family unit seeking legal entry into the U.S. through the San Diego ports of entry in fiscal year 2018, through August, was up 139 percent compared to the same period in 2017. The number was 12,340, up from 5,167, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Customs and Border Protection statistics show a 31 percent increase in unaccompanied children during the same period. The majority of unaccompanied children come from Guatemala while the families are overwhelmingly coming from Mexico’s interior, the data shows. Others come from Nigeria, Honduras and Pakistan.

Tijuana’s shelters say they are strained from the number of mothers with children trying to enter the U.S. seeking asylum through the San Ysidro Port of Entry, after the U.S. ended a policy of family separations at the border. Thousands are hunkering down in Tijuana shelters or in tents right outside on the streets.