Shelter for Muslim migrants opens in Tijuana for those seeking to enter US

As the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border continues to escalate under the failed policies of President Joe Biden and the absentee direction of Vice President Kamala Harris, a non-profit organization announced a first-of-its-kind shelter to help migrants in need.

The Latina Muslim Foundation is a 501(c)(3) that operates between San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico and about three years ago they set their sights on filling a need in their community. The foundation’s president Sonia Tinico spoke to Border Report to explain the goal of the facility that opened on June 11.

“Being on one of the largest borders in the world, this is a source of pride that we’re here able to help people arriving at the border,” Tinico said. “We’ll be able to provide shelter for Muslims who are seeking to get to the U.S. or Canada.”

Among the resources provided at the 8,000-square-foot facility, she detailed the shelter could house up to 150 displaced migrants seeking asylum in the United States or Canada while offering housing, medical care that includes psychological and dental assistance, meals and legal services. The state of Baja California has joined with the shelter to help provide some of the resources including making doctors available.

“They can pray here and have halal meals that don’t have pork since we don’t eat pork,” she explained. “We’ll have separate areas for women and men.”

The non-profit leader also spoke with The San Diego Union-Tribune about the lengthy mission to raise roughly half a million dollars needed to open the facility. “It took a lot of faith, money, effort and patience.”

She detailed her unique background to the Union-Tribune and explained how she had grown up as a Catholic only to later convert to Islam. It wasn’t until she had endeavored to help others at migrant shelters throughout Tijuana that she became aware of the number of Muslims seeking asylum.

“They were in hotels or shelters without a proper place for worship or halal food,” Tinico explained. “That’s how the idea of building a shelter came about.”

The migrants seeking shelter come from nations around the world that including Kenya, Afghanistan, Ghana and Russia.

Architect and project manager for the two-story shelter in Tijuana’s Zona Norte, Laura Díaz explained to the Union-Tribune, “They are displaced by war or violence, so we seek to provide them with a little identity so that they feel less stressed in their refugee situation.”

“We are safe here. The Latina Muslim Foundation has been very good,” 22-year-old Ilyas Salarzai expressed while she awaits the documents needed to move forward in the immigration process.

Along with the legal services to assist migrants in the formal process of seeking asylum, the shelter also offers workshops for them to grow familiar with North American culture and customs while they endeavor to learn the language.

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