Frequently Asked Questions

We are transparent about safety and security and provide group leaders and volunteers with information from the U.S. State Department and monitor resources from the Trans-border Institute, the Consulate General in Tijuana, and local sources in Mexico. 

Reminders:

  • Safety is the primary concern of our organization. If we believe at any point that it is unsafe for volunteers in Tijuana, we will inform groups immediately.
  • There is a security plan in place and volunteers are accompanied by staff that knows Tijuana well when they leave our facility.
  • The Posada is a fully-gated and locked facility with 24-hour on-site staff
  • We have never had a violent incident or security problem with any of our groups in our 32 year history.
  • Violence in Tijuana is concentrated between the drug cartels and the police.
  • Visit our Trip Preparation page here to download our Esperanza Security Manual.

Security resources

1)   Department of State travel information for Mexico:

http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings/mexico-travel-warning.html

2)   The Trans-Border Institute at the University of San Diego.  This nonprofit organization was founded in 1994 to promote understanding, dialogue and cooperation across the U.S.-Mexico border.  They create regular reports and provide resources on topics such as security and the rule of law, sustainable economic development and migration. Check out the most recent report on drug violence in Mexico:

https://justiceinmexico.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/140415-dvm-2014-releasered1.pdf

Learn more about the Trans-Border Institute: http://www.sandiego.edu/peacestudies/tbi/about/

As of March 2016: This is an updated cost of the homes built by FEM taking into account the recent increase in cost of building materials. It depends on the size of the module.  Based on a currency conversion of $1=$17 (3/16/16), the costs of the modules break down as follows:

  • Modulo I – 248sf aprox.$93,595 m.n. = $5,505
  • Modulo II – 308sf aprox.$111,076 m.n.= $6,034
  • Modulo III (w/bathroom)– 339sf aprox.$154,778 m.n.= $9,105
  • Modulo II + piso I – 308sf aprox.$128,858 m.n. = $7,580
  • Modulo IV (w/bathroom) – 432sf aprox. $159,231 m.n. = $9,365
  • Alternativa III (w/bathroom)  – 557sf aprox. $192,180 m.n. = $11,305

*The last two are homes we currently build due to minimum square foot requirements for progressive housing (423 square feet) the other module options are used for growth.

Families are contributing money on a weekly basis to the FAV (community savings group) in which they participate in.  Most families are contributing approximately $15/week.  Each FAV elects a treasurer who collects and manages this money.  When families receive a government subsidy, they are able to pay off the homes in 2-3 years. Without the subsidy it takes 5-6 years.

Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft are the fastest method for getting to the border. It is approximately a 15 minute drive from the San Diego airport to the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

San Diego Trolley instructions

You will take the blue line trolley to the border.  You do not have to purchase a compass card if you just buy a one-way ticket for $2.50. This map shows where you can get on the blue line at American Plaza and follow it all the way to the San Ysidro station.  It is the last station and will take you very close to where you will walk across the border.

http://www.sdmts.com/Trolley/Trolley.asp .

You have two options for getting from the airport to the trolley station.  You can either take the bus using route 992 ($2.25) or take a cab.  Here is the link for the bus: http://www.airportbusandtrain.com/san-diego-san/.  The bus will be slightly cheaper, but the distance is short and a cab ride should be less than $15.  The Santa Fe Train Station and American Plaza are across the street from each other.

Mexican law requires that any non-Mexican citizen under the age of 18 departing Mexico must carry notarized written permission from any parent or guardian not traveling with the child to or from Mexico. Learn more here:  http://matamoros.usconsulate.gov/service/information-on-mexico/entry-requirements-for-mexico.html

A portion or all of your fees may be tax deductible.  Please consult a tax professional to determine this for your individual trip.

Note: A trip can be deductible if all the time is spent doing the charitable activity, if the value of food and lodging is de minimis, and if you receive nothing of value.  So the classic “volunteer” trip that is not deductible is you go to Africa, visit a village to “help” the locals, but stay in a five star hotel and spend half the trip on a safari.  Going to the Posada is the antithesis of this.  But if an Esperanza volunteer extends their experience to go to a resort or stay in San Diego, it may be that their airfare and much of the trip is not deductible. The volunteer can deduct travel expenses, such as airfare and other transport, accommodations, and meals, when performing services away from home. This might include trips to attend a convention or board meeting, taking underprivileged at-risk kids on a camping trip, or monitoring environmental destruction.  However, there are important limitations: The volunteer cannot gain significant personal pleasure, recreation, or vacation from the travel. And the volunteer must really be working — tagging along on an outing while performing nominal duties, or even no duties for significant parts of the trip, won’t cut it.

Link to the IRS tax guide for charitable contributions (2013): http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p526.pdf

Additional information: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/remind-nonprofit-volunteers-tax-deductions-29659.html

About dinner auctions: http://www.massnonprofit.org/expert.php?artid=1968

Absolutely.  We also have a Come and See initiative that allows prospects to spend a couple of days with a current group to gain an understanding of how our program works. We can also offer a tour if advanced notice is given. Contact Program Director Celina Rodriguez for more information: celina.rodriguez@esperanzaint.org

Come and See:

To provide potential future volunteer group leaders with a promotional experience that

meets the following guest values…

  • EFFECTIVE: Experience the power of experience (variety) possibilities.
  • RELEVANT: The experience can be tailored to their organization’s needs.
  • EASY TO IMPLEMENT: To get to know the structures that have to be established.
  • SAFE: To experience the safety in Tijuana

The guests include people with…

  • A connection to an organization that is interested in contracting a new group service program.
  • The ability to significantly influence the organizational decision to form a volunteer building group.
  • Openness to the realistic possibility of starting an Esperanza volunteer building group.
  • Guests are able to pay for transportation to/from the SD-Tijuana border region.
  • Guests have the physical ability to work at the work site.
  • Limit of three guests at a time.

Casa del Migrante en Tijuana, A.C. 
Calle Galileo No. 239 Col. Postal C.P. 22350. Tijuana, B.C.
Telephone: 011- 52-664-382-7685 and 011- 52-664-682-5180

Our Tax ID number is 33-0099715