Photo: Angeles sin Fronteras (Fabio Cuttica)
Angeles sin Fronteras, a group formed to assist people deported from the United States, has created five shelters to help migrants, who often end up penniless on the streets of Mexican border cities.
The newest shelter was opened in Mexicali, the capital of the northwestern state of Baja California, where the group rented an abandoned hotel to serve as a refuge for the rising number of poor deportees in the area.
The 50-room building, known as “El Cinco” (Number Five), is being used by Angeles sin Fronteras to temporarily house 60 people.
One of those living at the shelter is Pablo Hernandez, a 26-year-old who lives in a room lit by a candle and furnished with a piece of cardboard and a blanket.
Hernandez, who lived in the United States from the age of 2 until he was deported a year ago, has found shelter at the building in Mexicali’s red light district.
“I don’t know how I ended up here, how I fell into drug use,” Hernandez, whose relatives live in Texas, told Efe. “I just want another chance to return to my familiy.”
Mexicali, like many other border cities in Mexico, has experienced a surge in the number of deportees who have arrived from the United States.
Many of these people lived in the United States for most of their lives and end up on the streets in Mexico, often becoming depressed and using drugs to deal with the fact that they have nowhere to go.
El Cinco does not have electricity, running water or bathrooms, and the building’s residents live off money earned from washing cars or handouts.
“We have to help them so they can develop. They have great potential and we want to show that not all of them are criminals and they can contribute something to society,” Angeles sin Fronteras member Sergio Tamai told Efe.