TIJUANA (Border Report) — Magdalena’s house in Tijuana’s Colonia Libertad is nextdoor to the Salvation Army’s migrant shelter, and up until this week, she says she’d never had any issues with migrants who come and go.
She told Border Report things changed recently when some migrants learned they were eligible for parole into the U.S.
The White House recently resumed its family reunification parole programs for both Cubans and Haitians, which allow certain eligible U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to apply for parole for their family members.
If approved for parole, migrants can come to the United States ahead of their immigration court dates and even apply for work authorization while they wait to apply for lawful permanent resident status.
Magdalena says the announcement created a rush of migrants into her neighborhood, people who believe the shelter will help them launch their asylum applications.
It’s something the shelter and other service agencies in Tijuana have done in the past.
She says it’s a daily occurrence with migrants standing outside her home and along the street even though they’ve been told not to loiter.
“They’re under the idea that, ‘if we’re here they’ll have to help us,'” said Magdalena. “The problem is the trash they leave behind, they get into driveways and go to the bathroom and they’re doing things they’re not supposed to be doing … they sleep on the streets and we don’t feel safe.”
Magdalena stated Mexican immigration representatives have dropped by, but not much is done.
“Someone has to take responsibility for them, immigration should be taking care of them,” she said.
She also said she has spoken to the people who run the shelter but they tell her their hands are tied.
Banners and signs in Spanish and Creole have been placed outside the shelter telling the migrants they can’t stay in the neighborhood and that immigration services are not available.
“The banners say they can’t camp out here, they can’t remain in the area but they just ignore it,” said Magdalena, whose home is near a neighborhood corner store and across the street from a seafood restaurant. “They’ve been told clearly in their own language there’s no space for them.”
In Haiti, Creole is the principal language, although some grow up speaking French.
Magdalena claims she has approached a few of the migrants about moving on but says they pretend not to understand Spanish.
She’s also been accused of being a racist, something she denied.
“We’re not talking about racism, we’re not saying we don’t want them here, but something needs to be done,” she said.
Representatives from the shelter would not go on record to comment about the number of migrants showing up at the facility or the neighbor’s concerns.
All they would say is that they advise residents to call police if crimes are being committed.
“Officers respond but they can’t do anything, they are here to protect the public and prevent crimes, it’s not their job to get involved with immigration issues, and they say if they don’t see a crime being committed, there’s nothing they can do,” said Magdalena.
A migrant named Blacine told Border Report, she and her husband wait outside the shelter because “they have no other options.”