JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – Two migrant shelters in Juarez – one built to protect Central and South Americans separated from their caretakers on the way north and one to assist Mexican teens expelled from the U.S. – are getting multimillion-dollar expansions.
Chihuahua Gov. Maru Campos on Thursday toured the shelters scheduled to get $2 million for dormitories, family meeting areas, big kitchens, a library and a room with audio-visual amenities.
“Chihuahua is part of one of most important migrant corridors in the world, extending from Central America to the United States,” Campos said. “The transit of our foreign brothers and sisters is part of the reality of the border […] We cannot ignore this reality. Even if their stay is temporary, we must offer shelter and be like family to them.”
Campos toured the Nohemi Alvarez Quillay shelter just south of Downtown Juarez, which can accommodate up to 100 unaccompanied minors and women with small children. The grants from the federal and state government will double the size of the facility so that it can house up to 210 guests during future surges.
The shelter is named after an Ecuadorian girl who committed suicide in 2014 at a migrant holding facility. Mexican authorities have since tried to provide psychological assistance to migrant minors they encounter who have experienced traumatic events or assaults on their way to the U.S.
The shelter in the past year has hosted some 3,300 minors from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Brazil, Ecuador, Cuba and other countries.
Unaccompanied Mexican minors, whom the Biden administration continues to expel from the U.S., also find shelter there, but the grants will enable Juarez to build another facility for them.
Expelled Mexican children come under the protection of DIF, the Mexican child welfare agency. The new Casa del Menor Migrante (Home for the Migrant Minor) is being built at an undisclosed location and will accommodate up to 300 minors, including teens up to 17 years old. A total of $800,000 has been earmarked for its construction.
Campos and Nuria Fernandez, national president of DIF, said the goal is for Juarez to have two large-scale facilities that not only can keep migrant minors safe but also help them improve their oft-shaken morale.
“In Juarez and Chihuahua, we worry about the children, about their safety and their health. We want them to learn new skills and be prepared to face the outside world again,” Campos said.