Endless Waiting to Enter US at Southern Border

Pay three pesos or 25 cents and pass through the turnstile. That is what it takes to get on the El Paso del Norte Bridge between Mexico and the U.S. Hundreds of migrants had been waiting here for a chance to request asylum.

“This process is very hard. It’s been very cold. Then the sun is too strong. We don’t have shade or a way to protect ourselves. But we are here. Life is hard but we continue to move forward,” Vilma Mendez Morales told VOA in Spanish last week.

Morales was one of about 200 people waiting on the bridge, who are just part of the usual flow of migrants, hoping to get into the U.S. They did not belong to the much-anticipated caravan of migrants working their way north through Mexico that was targeted by President Donald Trump during the recent midterm election campaign.

Traveling alone with her one-year-old son, Morales, 24, was waiting for almost a week on the bridge.

“We left Guatemala for a lot of reasons. We want to move forward. Fight for a better life and give my son a better life.… I hope God touches the president’s (Trump’s) heart to give us an opportunity,” she said.

For shelter, the migrants had only makeshift tents of donated blankets, so on Tuesday as temperatures fell to freezing, Mexican officials moved them to a local shelter.

The Mexican Red Cross, which has been assisting the migrants, gave each person a number so they could keep their places in line.

Caravan coming

Half way across the bridge, two U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) field operation officers checked people’s documents. Those hoping for asylum must wait due to space issues in the processing area, CBP officials said.

Eddy Gonzalez, who had been waiting on the bridge and observing, said, “It’s a good day,” when they take 20 to 30 people into the processing center.

From Cuba, Gonzalez had been traveling for three years with a two-year layover in Ecuador to make some money.

Both he and Morales knew that Trump had signed an order suspending the granting of asylum to migrants who crossed the U.S. border with Mexico illegally.  The move came in advance of the migrant caravan from Central American countries. Several hundred have already arrived at Tijuana, a Mexican border city. The United Nations estimates the rest, numbering in the thousands, will arrive in about a week.

In advance, the U.S. government is reported to be “hardening” the port of entry at Tijuana, and the number of U.S. troops stationed at the border may be increased from the current 7,900, U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said Wednesday.

Rights groups have rushed to court to block the new asylum policy which they say defies U.S. law.

“Under U.S. law anyone arriving at port of entry or crossing in between a port of entry is eligible to apply for asylum if they have a fear to return to their home country,” said Shaw Drake, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Border Rights Center in El Paso.

Detention and release

Gonzalez will almost certainly be put in detention once he crosses the border and makes his asylum claim.

“Many of those people in that process will be detained indefinitely, especially single men and single women in a detention facility and go through that (asylum) process while in detention,” Drake said.

To Gonzalez, it is a small price to pay:  “If I have been almost three years away from my country, six days sleeping here on the floor, what’s three months detained in a prison? That’s nothing. In the end, it’s worth it. I’m going to be free,” he said.

Families with children are not detained indefinitely because U.S. law prohibits children from being held for more than 20 days. When immigrants are paroled, they are then released into the community.

The releases do nothing to reassure those who are concerned about border security.

“Are they legal or not? That is what needs to be fixed,” says Bob Pena, El Paso resident and volunteer at the El Paso County Republican Party.

“We need to seal this border somehow or another; that has to be done. I know that the wall is an ugly image. Are we concerned about an image or are we so concerned about solving a problem? We need to solve this problem. We need to have a controlled system of where people are working here.”

Alex shows his coloring book that someone in Mexico donated to him. The eight-year-old a migrant child from Honduras was waiting at the El Paso del Norte Bridge between Mexico and the U.S. with his father for a chance to request asylum. (VOA video screengrab)



Related Article

Posted on: Thursday, July 11, 2019 | By: crimeandmoreworld - News Desk

Nearly Two Dozen Nations Urge China to End Mass Incarcerations in Xinjiang at UN Rights Council

Nearly two dozen countries at the United Nations’ Human Rights Council in Geneva have urged China to end mass arbitrary detentions, as well as widespread surveillance and restrictions, on Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR)

Posted on: Tuesday, July 9, 2019 | By: crimeandmoreworld - Copy Editing Desk

NGOs Call on Cambodia to Launch Independent Probe Ahead of Third Anniversary of Kem Ley’s Murder

Kem Ley was shot to death in broad daylight on July 10, 2016 while having a morning coffee at a Caltex gas station in the capital Phnom Penh, days after publicly criticizing Prime Minister Hun Sen and his family for abuse of power

Posted on: Friday, July 5, 2019 | By: crimeandmoreworld - Copy Editing Desk

Chinese Rights Lawyer, Wife Made Homeless After Police Pressure Landlord

Xie and his wife Yuan Shanshan were recently forced to move yet again from their rented home in Miyun, a town on the outskirts of Beijing, when their landlord refused to renew their lease, citing pressure from the local police, the Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch website reported

Posted on: Wednesday, July 3, 2019 | By: crimeandmoreworld - News Desk

Tajoura Air Strike in Libya

Ongoing conflict in the Libyan capital has forced nearly 100,000 Libyans to flee their homes. UNHCR, working with IOM and other partners, has relocated more than 1,500 refugees from detention centres near combat to safer areas

Posted on: Saturday, June 15, 2019 | By: crimeandmoreworld - Copy Editing Desk

Rights Czar Visit to China Contingent on ‘Full Access’ to Xinjiang Internment Camps: UN

In January, China’s foreign ministry welcomed U.N. officials to visit the region, provided they “abide by Chinese law and comply with relevant procedures,” and “avoid interfering in domestic matters or undermining [China’s] sovereignty”


Privacy & Cookies: This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use.
To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Cookie Policy more information

Privacy & Cookies: This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use.
To find out more, including how to control cookies, see here: Cookie Policy