The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

US border policies have created a volatile logjam in Mexico


As the US clamps down on border entries, Mexico bears the burden of housing and feeding tens of thousands of desperate migrants.

A series of tough new border policies have slashed the number of migrants crossing into the United States to their lowest levels since President

Joe Biden

took office, but the measures have created a

combustible bottleneck

throughout the Mexico's northern border, with tens of thousands of frustrated migrants languishing in crowded shelters from Tijuana to Reynosa.

The situation erupted on Monday, when a protest at a government-run migrant detention center in Ciudad Juárez sparked a fire that killed at least 40 people.

But scenes of overcrowding and despair have been unfolding along the border in recent weeks as the Biden administration prepares for a

new surge

in migration this spring.

Earlier this month, in Juárez, hundreds of migrants, mostly from Venezuela, tried to force themselves across international bridges to reach El Paso.

Photo Herika Martinez/Agence France-Presse - Getty Images

Migrants have been waiting for a major policy shift, scheduled for May, when the United States plans to lift a pandemic-era health policy that has allowed US border authorities to quickly expel many migrants crossing illegally from Mexico.

New entry restrictions that have already gone into effect require most immigrants hoping to obtain U.S. asylum to make an appointment at a port of entry.

Problems with the

new mobile app

have left thousands of people trying in vain to get an appointment while stranded in Mexican border cities, where many have been waiting for months.

"What we have in Tijuana and other Mexican border cities is a bottleneck," said Enrique Lucero, director of the immigration services office for the city of Tijuana, across the border from San Diego.

"Thousands of migrants await the opportunity to enter the United States, and more continue to arrive."

The 30 shelters in the city have a capacity for 5,600 people;

up to

15,000 migrants

are currently in the city, she said.

"The number of people who can get into the United States is a couple hundred a day," he said, "but here we have thousands. The shelters are full."

According to the Mexican authorities, the fire occurred after the immigrants placed small mattresses at the entrance of the shelter and set them on fire in protest, after learning they were going to be deported.

Photo Go Nakamura for The New York Times

Even before Monday's fire, frustration had boiled over earlier this month in Juárez, when hundreds of migrants, mostly from


, tried to force their way across international bridges to reach El Paso, Texas, only to clash with US authorities.

Under pressure from the United States, Mexico has agreed to accept the growing number of migrants being returned by US authorities and to take other measures to help control the number of people crossing into the United States.

Some local officials on the US side of the border said the Biden administration had created the situation by vowing to


the pandemic-related removal policy, known as Title 42, that resulted in thousands of people traveling to the border. , and then quickly impose new restrictions.

"It's desperation," said Ricardo Samaniego, a judge in El Paso County, located across the border from Ciudad Juárez.

"You hang up the end of Title 42 and then say, 'It doesn't matter,' and people get stuck."

Immigrants lining up last year to eat at the First Baptist Church.

Photo Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times

He said that he had learned through his counterparts in Mexico that the shelters and detention centers in Juárez were almost at capacity and that they were preparing for a new surge in the coming days and weeks with plans to lift the Title. 42 on May 11.

Immigrant advocates have been warning for months that the situation was becoming


"The 39 lives lost last night in Ciudad Juárez is a horrific indictment. The law enforcement systems we have erected to police people migrating are hands of steel in velvet gloves, and death is part of the overload. Everyone we are responsible," Dylan Corbett, executive director of the

Hope Border Institute

, a faith-based organization,

said on Twitter .

With the shelters in many border towns full, new arrivals have resorted to sleeping in seedy hotels until their money ran out, and then they have ended up on the streets and in abandoned buildings.

Tensions have flared, sparking clashes with Mexican law enforcement, which the migrants have accused of beating, detaining and extorting money from them.


powerful cartels

that control illegal border crossings have kidnapped and tortured migrants.

Every day bedraggled migrant families arrive at Pro Amore Dei, a Catholic shelter in Tijuana, the largest city on the Mexican side, begging for a place to rest their heads.

"Every day I reject at least 10 families with children," explains Leticia Herrera, director of the center, where entire families already share a bed.

"God help us, we've already exceeded our capacity," he said of the facility, which can accommodate 250 people.

The same is true at another Tijuana shelter, Juventud 2000, where nearly 200 immigrant families sleep in orange, green and blue tents set up in a converted warehouse.

"We went from being half empty last year to having to turn people away," explains José María García, the founder.

"Now we have to do it constantly, day after day."

While Mexican migrant shelters are full, there has been a significant drop in the number of migrants on the US side of the border.

"The number of people in our care has been cut in half since the start of the year," said Kate Clark, director of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

With the intention of curbing the crossings, the Biden administration resorted to more restrictive measures.

It expanded the use of Title 42 to turn away a new flood of immigrants from

Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela

, while establishing a program that allowed nationals of those countries to apply for parole to enter the United States from their home countries. origin, if they had a

financial sponsor.

Since the launch of that program, illegal crossings have plummeted overall.

After a record number of border apprehensions last year, which reached 2.4 million, this year the encounters have dropped to about

128,000 a month.

Last month, the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice went further and announced a new rule, which will take effect after the abolition of Title 42 on May 11, by which immigrants will be presumed ineligible for asylum if they entered in the country illegally, and will be required to have applied for asylum in another country through which they passed before applying in the United States.

However, those who managed to make it to the border would be allowed in if they met

certain criteria

and used the mobile app to make an appointment.

The app, intended to provide an orderly and streamlined system for processing asylum claims, has been


by massive demand and riddled with glitches as tens of thousands of migrants have attempted to use it.

According to data from the US Customs and Border Protection,

740 immigrants a day

were served last month at eight border ports of entry.

At the entry point adjacent to Tijuana, 200 appointments were granted per day.

"Migrants arrive at the border already distraught after their journey. They have spent all their money to get here, and their hopes are dashed when they don't get an appointment on the application," said Lucero, director of the Tijuana migrant office.

Until the new app went live, US immigration attorneys could help especially vulnerable migrants quickly enter the United States, often by escorting them through ports of entry.

Now, there is no distinction between those who are most in danger and the others.

A month ago, a 4-month-old baby who needed urgent surgery died because the parents couldn't get an appointment through the app, said Herrera, of Tijuana's Pro Amore Dei shelter.

"Last year, the family would have been taken across the border, and the baby would be alive now," Herrera said.

In the seven years that he has been running the shelter, the situation has never been

so dire


"People who have been tortured, beaten and who are running for their lives are trapped here," he said.

"The most vulnerable people are the ones who seem to wait the longest."

In the Mexican city of Piedras Negras, on the border with Eagle Pass (Texas), emotions have become especially raw.

Last year, immigrants arriving at the First Baptist Church, a two-story structure where people sleep on tattered mattresses, often on the ground, typically stayed a day or two before crossing into the United States.

But Israel Rodríguez, a pastor who runs the shelter, said the migrants were now staying longer.

On Tuesday, there were about 160 people crammed into the shelter, most of them families.

"Everyone is in limbo. They come here hoping to cross, but the application that they are asked to do is not working," Rodríguez said.

"So they stay, some for months, and have nowhere to go."

c.2023 The New York Times Company

look also

A video reveals how the guards of a migrant center in Mexico left 40 people to die in a fire

US and Canada reach agreement on diversion of asylum seekers

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-03-29

You may like

News/Politics 2023-02-20T10:43:47.698Z
News/Politics 2023-01-09T02:12:43.481Z

Trends 24h

News/Politics 2023-05-29T06:20:53.392Z
News/Politics 2023-05-28T17:12:37.425Z


© Communities 2019 - Privacy

The information on this site is from external sources that are not under our control.
The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.