‘What now?’: Scenes from the US-Mexico border | Migration News

The U.S.-Mexico border was once again in the spotlight this week as a pandemic-era policy in the United States, which allowed authorities to expedite the deportation of most asylum seekers on the pretext of public health, expired.

New restrictions on asylum also took effect, prompting a flood of immigrants and refugees to seek protection in the United States before their Title 42 titles expire late Thursday.

At the same time, President Joe Biden’s administration was dispatching additional troops and other resources as officials prepared for the mass arrivals.

Here are some of the events that have taken place along the 3,140 km (1,950 miles) border in the last few days.

Migrants cross the Rio Grande River from Matamoros, Mexico, to the United States on May 11. [Fernando Llano/AP Photo]

‘it’s over’

Aylin Guevara, 45, trotted across the scorching desert of Ciudad Juárez towards the border.

She was accompanied by her two children, ages 16 and 5, and her husband. After receiving death threats, her family fled a coastal city in Colombia and hoped to seek refuge in the United States.

After spending the night before in a hotel, they wanted to go to the border — “with the help of God and the Baby Jesus, to get in and out of the border,” Guevara said.

But when they arrived with hours to go until the Title 42 finish, US immigration officials said they couldn’t get through. “No more, it’s over,” he said loudly to them, directing them to a bridge 16 kilometers (10 miles) to the left and right.

“Now find yourself in this”

Maria José Durán, a 24-year-old student from Venezuela, was sitting on the banks of a river in Matamoros, Mexico, almost crying.

Mexican immigration officials were trying to move people to makeshift camps, away from where they could cross the Rio Grande.

Durand said he dropped out of college and traveled to the United States with a group of friends and relatives because his parents could no longer afford it. They crossed the dangerous Darien Gorge that separates Colombia and Panama, crossed six more countries and reached the US border.

“I don’t know what to think now, after such a difficult journey, and now in this situation,” she said as at least a dozen Texas state troopers with rifles He gestured to the other bank standing behind the bellows wire.

From the Mexican side, the Texas National Guard could be seen reinforcing another wire to prevent immigrant encroachment. Durand was later seen walking along the embankment with other migrants who had crossed the Rio Grande and crossed barbed wire.

Immigrants cross from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to El Paso, Texas, and arrive at the border fence gate on May 11. [Andres Leighton/AP Photo]

“Will it be better for us, or will it be worse?”

Hundreds of immigrant candidates who lined up next to the border wall in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, were still crossing the border on Thursday, hours before Title 42 restrictions were lifted, before the U.S. border. accepted by the guards. That number was significantly lower than in recent days.

Ecuadorian Washington Javier Vaca, his wife Paulina Congo, and their two children, ages 14 and 7, knew nothing about the rule change.

“And will things get better or worse for us now?” Congo asked. “We asked for asylum in Mexico, but after four months they refused us.”

A Salvadoran man who identified himself as David fled the border back to Ciudad Juárez for fear of deportation.

“What now?”

Authorities in the remote desert region of Yuma, Arizona, have issued a warning this week after the average daily number of arrivals rose from 300 to 1,000.

Hundreds who crossed into the Yuma area Colorado River We surrendered to border officials early Thursday morning, after which we loaded adults and children into buses.

Mayor Doug Nichols has asked the federal government to declare a national disaster and dispatch Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) resources and the National Guard to rush to the mayor and other small border communities.

Most migrants and asylum seekers are transferred to non-profit shelters far from the border, but border officials release them into the community when sufficient transportation is not available.

Nichols said officials had already told him they planned to release 141 people in Yuma County on Friday. “There’s always the question, ‘What’s next?’ I kept asking this question for two years and never got an answer,” Nichols said. “We are in an unprecedented situation.”

US sees rise in immigrants and asylum seekers at southern border [Gregory Bull/AP Photo]

“It may not be enough”

Leaders at a nonprofit that helps asylum seekers fleeing the Arizona border said they were as prepared as possible for the new scenario.

“We are committed to working with all available resources to address this issue,” said Teresa Cavendish, executive director of Casa Aritas, Tucson’s largest shelter. “But that may not be enough.”

Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona operates a new 300-bed facility for men at Casa Aritas and four other temporary facilities for women, families, and the vulnerable, totaling more than 1,000 beds. Can accommodate beds.

International Rescue Commission Chairman David Miliband, who visited the International Rescue Commission Welcome Center in Phoenix this week, expressed confidence in the International Rescue Commission’s ability to deal with the growing number of asylum seekers in the area. The 340-bed shelter was less than half capacity.

“This challenge is manageable as long as it is done in an organized and humane way,” Miliband said.

“We served 50,000 people last year and 38,000 people the year before, without negatively impacting our clients or communities,” said Beth Strano, engagement manager at the center in a quiet neighborhood south of Phoenix. said.

“It was all a lie”

Smugglers helped Guatemalan Shady Mazariegos and her 4-year-old son reach Matamoros, Mexico, where she and her child crossed the Rio Grande on a raft.

But Border Patrol agents detained two people near Brownville, Texas, a week ago. On Thursday, the 26-year-old and her son returned to Guatemala on one of two flights carrying a total of 387 migrants.

“I heard on the news that there is an opportunity to enter,” Mazariegos said. “I heard it on the radio, but it was all a lie.”

A group of people arrive on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande with plans to cross to the United States on May 11. [Fernando Llano/AP Photo]

‘Very difficult’

At Tijuana’s stretch of border wall, as the sun dipped over the steep hills, some of those crossing the border asked passers-by for blankets, food and water.

Gerson Aguilera, 41, arrived in Tijuana around 4pm with his three children and wife and crossed the river to seek asylum. Aguilera, from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, said he fled with his family after organized criminals began demanding extortion money double the 2,000 Honduran lempiras a week (about $81) they had already paid. rice field.

“It’s very difficult. If you pay them, they’ll kill you,” Aguilera said with tears in her eyes.

Welding shop owner Aguilera said she left her home once in 2020 due to threats, but returned when the situation calmed down. It was no longer an option.

“I ask God for help,” Aguilar said.

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