“More and more despondent”: thousands of migrants crowd the US-Mexico border

Ciudad Gorez | The situation is critical on the border between Mexico and Texas, where thousands of migrants are crowded and trying by all means to cross into the United States and some to reach Canada.

• Also read – Big Report: The Migrant Route

“I’m almost done, all I have to do next is cross a country,” predicts Venezuelan Luis Quijada, who dreams of living with us and passionately learning French. “If I can’t get there legally by May 11th,” he said firmly, “I will find another way.”

For him like the crowd of asylum seekers packed into makeshift camps and shelters in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez — an estimated 35,000 at the end of April — time is running out.

On Thursday, an emergency restriction called Title 42, which has allowed the expedited deportation of immigrants to Mexico since the start of the pandemic, expires.

After that, the authorities often resort to a very strict law on irregular entry, which leads to a ban on entering the country for 5 years.

Many of Pastor Arturo Ochoa’s parishioners hastily left his sanctuary in recent days, worried that political changes would make their situation worse.

Pastor Arturo Ochoa, of La Plenitude Church in Ciudad Juarez, welcomes about thirty immigrants to an old bank that has been converted into a temporary shelter.

Nora T. Lamontagne/JdeM

“I get the impression that they are getting more and more desperate. They are making hasty decisions, and they refuse to wait.”

Luis Quijada, Venezuela Luis Quijada

La Plenitud church shelter, in Ciudad Juárez, where about thirty immigrants reside.

Nora T. Lamontagne/JdeM

reinforcement soldiers

The end of Title 42 has already been pushed back twice in the past year, each time causing erratic waves of entries.

This time, the Biden administration decided to send 1,500 soldiers to help in the sector between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, the busiest on the border.

More than 265,000 people have crossed the border since October, despite all US attempts to discourage them.

The border between the two cities is unrelated to the miles in the countryside and without much of the oversight that Quebec shares with the United States. Even less so with the little dirt road from Roxham clogged with concrete block.

The most dangerous 100 m

Here, immigrants of all ages encounter the dirty waters of the Rio Grande River, rows of barbed wire, military borders, and the infamous 30-foot steel wall separating two major cities.

Luis Quijada, Venezuela Luis Quijada

Everything has been done to make the border between El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, where the Rio Grande River flows, as hostile as possible for immigrants.

Nora T. Lamontagne / JdeM Nora T. Lamontagne / JdeM

“They get here and are glad they are only 100 meters from the border, not realizing that it is the hardest 100 meters of their entire journey,” says Mexican muralist and activist Jorge “Yourch” Pérez.

But for many immigrants who have already given everything to get to the border, this hurdle is just another hurdle on their way to a better life.

Luis Quijada, Venezuela Luis Quijada

Venier, 22, and Cassandra, 31, both from Haiti, are staying at a shelter in Ciudad Juarez until they can continue their journey to the United States.

Nora T. Lamontagne / JdeM Nora T. Lamontagne / JdeM

“I just want to find a quiet place and be able to help my family get back to Haiti,” sighs Fenner, 22, who has been listening to Jareau at full volume in his room while we stay in a temporary shelter.

In collaboration with Itzel Aguilera

Address 42 in brief

The United States is allowed to deport immigrants to Mexico under the pretext of public health, without receiving their asylum applications

Built during the pandemic by the Trump administration

It has been used over 2.7 million times since 2020

Ends May 11th at 11:59 p.m.

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