Via Migrante Update

In January 2020 Via launched the 
Via Migrante program to address the growing humanitarian crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border.  Via has 40 years of experience supporting new arrivals to the region in establishing their lives as residents.  The program was originally designed as an integrated program of accompaniment for newly arrived migrants and deportees in Tijuana. This border town has long been recognized as a land of opportunity for people from parts south. The city is known for full employment, with job offerings abundant. It has long been a draw for migrants from throughout Mexico and Central America and a dumping ground for the U.S. government sending migrant workers and even veterans back to Mexico.  Most recently, this trend was exaggerated with increased migrant flows from Central America and more stringent U.S. immigration policies, creating a humanitarian crisis at the border unlike any seen in previous years.

New arrivals in Tijuana typically join the most marginalized neighborhoods of the city.  They need pathways to become participants in establishing community – safe places where they can work and their children can go to school, and for those who have been deported, to remain connected to their families living on the US side. They need support services to deal with the trauma they have experienced and legal services to secure the paperwork needed to establish permanent residence and work eligibility in Mexico. They need support to secure a livelihood and discover a way forward. We committed to creating new pathways for this vulnerable population through the Via Migrante program.  Then the Coronavirus hit...

The humanitarian crisis at the US/Mexico border was already complex before this current health crisis. However, with the spread of the Coronavirus, the need to provide solutions for people “stuck in Tijuana” is more urgent than ever. To address the needs of this highly vulnerable population, Via has been working directly with our micro-credit program participants in Tijuana, and a cadre of community health workers trained through Via’s Nutrition & Ecology Program, to support small businesses while they provide migrant shelters with the essential items needed to keep folks safe and healthy:  cleaning supplies and hot meals.

Through small loans and your donations, Via is providing small entrepreneurs in Tijuana with the funds they need to be able to mobilize to provide local shelters and the many hundreds of families in those shelters with food and basic sanitary supplies.  Many of these women entrepreneurs had previously sold food in their communities, sewn clothing or costumes or sold household cleaning products door to door.  When the Coronavirus hit, their businesses suffered an obvious decline and for some, a complete closure.  Yet an obvious need still existed in shelters where thousands are seeking refuge.  Through the Via Migrante program, we have been able to connect our existing program participants to local shelters to achieve two goals at once:

  1. Provide emergency supplies in the form of food and cleaning supplies to local shelters, and;

  2. Offer a way for small businesses developed through our micro-loan program, to survive through the economic crisis while providing a needed service for the community.

Through your donations, to date, the program has provided over 1000 meals to the 
Juventud 2000 Shelter and made monthly deliveries of cleaning supplies to two other 
shelters housing approximately 200 people in Tijuana since the pandemic began. 

Thank you for your support!

The need is urgent and ongoing and more support is needed.  Please donate here.

We hope to be able to get back on track with our original program goals once the community has weathered this crisis, but until then, we remain committed to supporting basic needs both in the shelters and in the community through the Via Migrante program and other long-standing programs offered throughout marginalized communities in Tijuana.  Our long-term goal remains the same

Establishing Safe, Strong and Self-Sustaining Communities.

Reed more about our Via Migrante Program...