Abhorrent conditions in Central American countries have continued to force migrants north to Tijuana to escape trauma and persecution. Concurrently, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has enacted policies such as metering to limit the number of people that can begin the asylum process to 10-40 each day. They also send asylum seekers to return to hostile conditions in Tijuana as they await legal proceedings. As a result, health crises continue to propagate in already crowded shelters and camps with thousands of migrants seeking refuge.
To help address this immense need, Refugee Health Alliance (RHA), has organized trips every Saturday to the shelters in Tijuana to provide medical care. Clinical teams between 15-35 volunteers are deployed to sites across Tijuana and typically see between 100-200 patients each Saturday. Furthermore, we have established a clinic at an autonomous community space where asylum seekers also come to receive free meals and legal support. This clinic is open six days a week and is typically staffed by 1-2 providers and 1-2 support staff. The clinic sees between 10-30 patients each day and has access to basic labs, radiography, and testing. We also subsidize the hospitalization of critically ill migrants and work with lawyers to produce medical documentation used for critical asylum proceedings. Since our inception in November 2018, we have completed approximately 4,000 patient consultations and we have become the largest healthcare provider to the migrants and the shelters in Tijuana, with the exception of the Mexican government.
Our focus is not exclusive to medical treatment. We also provide mental health services in the form psychological consultations and group support to vulnerable subsets of the population including unaccompanied minors and LGBT members. We also host recreational therapy sessions, which have included activities like art and yoga to promote psychological and physical well being.
Because there remains a tremendous need, our work is only limited by resources and volunteers. We would like to kindly ask for your donations to continue this grassroots effort to provide medical aid and support to asylum seekers. Your donations will go towards items on our needs list. Direct donations for these goods are also welcome.
If you would like join our efforts on the ground please fill out this form.
For more information please refer to this list of news articles published about our project:
For questions or requests please contact: [email redacted]
Refugee Health Alliance
Photo Credit: Hal Robert Myers
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