Mexican dugouts are full as potential end of Title 42 nears

JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) — Children play on the dirt floor as women sort through a pile of donated clothes in the backyard of an apartment building in the working-class neighborhood of Anapra.

Inside, more clothes are strewn across mattresses and bunk beds where a few toys and stuffed animals can also be seen. A woman brings a wet mop to the floor of a hallway where a line of children holding their mothers’ hands begins to form.

The common theme at the Esperanza de Vida migrant shelter a few blocks from the border wall is that there’s hardly any room to walk – and that’s with most guests looking for temporary work or walking around the neighborhood during the day.

A month before the US government ends the Title 42 policy that bars foreign nationals from seeking asylum at ports of entry, most migrant shelters in Juarez are already full or nearly full.

Jennifer Marisela Cortes (photo from Border Report)

“We are waiting for the end of Title 42 because there are too many people here. Sometimes my children don’t want to eat the food they give us because sometimes it’s already bad,” said Jennifer Marisela Cortes, a citizen of Guatemala. “There are never enough because for every three (migrants) who leave, 10 more arrive.”

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Overcrowding makes it difficult to enforce COVID-19 protocols or think about privacy. The shelter that housed a few dozen a year ago is now struggling to feed 300 Haitians, Mexicans and Central Americans. Guests sleep between 20 and 40 in a room, with families and single women watching over each other.

Cortes left Guatemala to escape poverty and gang violence. She came with a 5-year-old child, Jordy Ricardo, who needs medical attention after two open-heart operations. The child was sick and sometimes vomited blood; the title 42 return date of May 23 can’t come fast enough for him, his mother said.

She was overcome with despair and illegally crossed the Rio Grande into the United States a few weeks ago, only to be promptly deported to Mexico under the Title 42 public health order, she said. .

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Operators of various private and church-run migrant shelters in Juarez told Border Report this week that their buildings were at 80% capacity or more. They fear they will not be able to accommodate an expected rush of thousands more migrants seeking to make asylum claims after May 23.

Migrant women sort through a pile of clothes donated to the Esperanza de Vida shelter in Juarez, Mexico. (photo from border report)

Juarez Police Chief Cesar Omar Muñoz told reporters authorities would step up a crackdown on human trafficking operations and hideouts. He also said state authorities are considering blocking migrants without Mexican humanitarian visas from entering the state.

But on Friday, the Mexican government representative in the state of Chihuahua told Border Report he believed Juarez had enough resources to take in more migrants.

“Fortunately, in the last three years – almost four now – of this situation, we have come out of it,” said Juan Carlos Loera, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s man in the state. “I don’t think there is a serious risk of saturation of the shelters. There is a greater risk of people ending up on the street without a roof[…}buttheLeonaVicario(federal)shelterforinstanceisonly66percentfullrightnowIt’sbeenaveraginganoccupancyof600anditcanbeexpandedtoupto180”[…}maislerefugeLeonaVicario(fédéral)parexemplen’estactuellementpleinqu’à66%Ilaccueilleenmoyenne600personnesetpeutêtreétendujusqu’à1800»[…}buttheLeonaVicario(federal)shelterforinstanceisonly66percentfullrightnowIt’sbeenaveraginganoccupancyof600anditcanbeexpandedtoupto1800”

Juan Carlos Loera

Loera also said he does not anticipate a “rush” of migrants on international bridges between Juarez and El Paso, Texas on May 23, as advocates hope the United States will once again accept applications for asylum at entry points. Three years ago, the US government set limits on the number of people who could show up at ports of entry each day to seek asylum, and the Mexican government helped by maintaining a list of those who could show up. .

It’s unclear whether the Biden administration will ever use such a mechanism again, which some supporters have called “counting” and called illegal.

Loera said Mexico was not considering arresting “people on the move.”

“We have great respect for them. The position of the federal (Mexican) government is always one of solidarity, but we also ensure that they are not exploited by others, namely the smugglers. We don’t want them to fall victim to criminals who want to treat them like commodities,” the federal official said.

The state of Chihuahua signed an agreement earlier this month with Texas Governor Greg Abbott, promising to help reduce drug and migrant trafficking across their shared border. The Mexican federal government, however, was not a party to that deal, and Lopez Obrador called the enhanced truck inspections at the Texas border a “political deception” on Abbott’s part.

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As US politicians warn of an inevitable new ‘wave’ of illegal migration after May 23, spurred by Biden’s ‘open border’ policies, and as Mexican officials expect nothing will change , migrants like Cruz Gonzalez are waiting for that day to come.

“I would have crossed already – there are plenty of coyotes here (Anapra) – but I have no money. I have nothing and we can’t cross the border because some of us have children,” Gonzalez said. “We are fighting for asylum, to enter the United States.”

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