Introduction: This project is a response to the lessons learned from the last 6 months of refugee support in Tijuana. It is a collaboration between members of “Contra Viento y Marea” (“against all odds”), accomplices and the cooperative of artists “El Puente” (“the bridge”–a collaboration between American and Central American artists). In January 2019, “la bodega”, the shelter of the Benito Juárez Warehouse, was evicted by the Mexican Federal Police and the humanitarian organization of the Mexican government “Grupos Beta”. “Contra Viento y Marea” was born of a 6-day occupation in which refugees refused to be evicted and placed in insecure and corrupt shelters administered by the Mexican government and against the interests of those who live there. Since then, there has been a desire for another autonomously managed migrant shelter, which can act as a collaborative site among the growing community of asylum seekers, Tijuanese and Americans who are against the border and the role of the Mexican state in its management.
What: Casa Hogar El Puente is a place for asylum-seeking migrant women and children who have been returned to Tijuana under the MPP Migrant Protection Program, where many have to wait for months in Mexico for their cases to be resolved. The space also receives migrant women and children who come to Tijuana from Central America and other parts of the world and do not have a place to stay and helps inform them about the asylum process in the United States.
Why: Because we are seeing the problems experienced by migrants in Tijuana where shelters are saturated with people from Central America, Haiti and other countries arriving every day and we realize that it is necessary to open more space to help our migrant comp@s to be sheltered and offer them a decent roof, food, clothing, medical attention etc.
Vision: Contribute to the joint work of Central Americans to assist their own migrant comp@s, with the hope of eventually seeing a favorable change in the perception of migrants in Tijuana and increased understanding about the difficult conditions we face on the border.`
Mission: To open a home to help meet the needs of migrant women and their children in terms of food, housing and accompaniment to carry out their immigration procedures, giving them dignified attention, while simultaneously strengthening the development of a Central American community in Tijuana. As the Central American community in Tijuana is becoming more established because of MPP and continual migration, Casa Hogar el Puente hopes to shift the perception of Central American Migrants here in Tijuana so they can be respected for their contributions to the city.
Goals: That we can accommodate an average of 30 women and children in our house, rotating people about every two months so that the opportunities are for everyone.
CALL TO ACTION: Casa Hogar El Puente needs the following forms of solidarity from Mexico, the United States and beyond:
1.) Construction skills
2.) Wood and construction materials for bunk beds, cupboards, cabinets. including: painting, plywood, 2×4, power tools, hardware, funds to acquire them or local knowledge to obtain them for free)
3.) Kitchen supplies and equipment (stove, refrigerator, oven and cooking utensils)
4.) Doctors, nurses, herbalists and other volunteers with medical skills to attend to residents of Casa Hogar. Currently, the greatest necessity is medical professionals with knowledge of the Mexican medical system.
5.) Art supplies, clothing, toiletries, toys and other donations for women and children.
6.) Washing machine