A Mexican border town becomes the “waiting room” for immigrants to the United States

JUAREZ, Mexico — Just 15 minutes from El Paso, Texas, the largest immigrant shelter in this city of 1.5 million people has become a stopover for droves of would-be cross-border commuters — all anxious to see if Title 42 is lifted on Monday. as the Biden administration intends.

“Our city has become a waiting room,” Yvonne Lopez De Lara, the Casa del Migrante’s human rights coordinator, told The Post on Thursday.

The shelter is currently stowed to its capacity of 400 people. About half of them, according to Lopez De Lara, will base their decision about attempting to enter the United States on whether a federal judge in Louisiana keeps the health agency in place or gives the White House the green light to overturn it.

“We’re pretty panicky about the end of Title 42,” Lopez De Lara said. “The Guardian Chapel is now a dormitory. This also applies to the site that we used to use for the children’s schooling. We don’t have room for more people.”

Title 42 has been in effect since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the federal government estimates it was used to expel about 1.7 million immigrants from the United States without hearing their asylum claims.

US District Judge Robert Summerhays, appointed by Donald Trump, is expected to rule at any time on whether the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s order vacating Title 42 is lawful. The Biden White House has 24 Republican attorney generals lined up who want Title 42 to remain in place, at least temporarily.

Whenever the order ends, everyone expects there will be a tidal wave of immigrants – some already waiting in Mexico – who will try to enter the US.

Women washing clothes, child
The Casa del Migrante in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, has become a checkpoint for migrants waiting to potentially cross the border into the United States.
Go to Nakamura/New York Post

Casa del Migrante used to be one of only two shelters in Juarez, but that number has grown to nearly 40 in recent years as more immigrants have arrived.

City officials estimate that between 10,000 and 15,000 migrants are currently in Juarez — some in shelters and others on the streets. Many of them are waiting to see what happens with Title 42.

Among them is a Honduran who asked to be identified as “Junior”. He arrived in Juarez a month ago, accompanied by his wife and their two sons, aged 8 and 3.

“We cannot risk the crossing [the border] with the little ones,” Junior told the Post on Thursday. “We want to enter legally. be illegal [means] a lack of respect. We want to ask for asylum.”

“We heard they are opening the border,” he added.

When asked if the shelter would ever turn migrants away, Lopez De Lara recalled that the facility once housed over 1,000 people who arrived as part of a migrant caravan.

US Customs and Border Protection officers help a migrant drop off at the House of Annunciation in El Paso, Texas.
US Customs and Border Protection officers help a migrant drop off at the House of Annunciation in El Paso, Texas.
Go to Nakamura/New York Post
Migrant asylum seekers in the United States and a volunteer walk in the courtyard of the Casa Del Migrente Juarez shelter in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
The shelter is currently operating at full capacity, bringing about 400 migrants to the facility.
Go to Nakamura/New York Post

“We’ve always made it work,” she said. “We don’t really have the funds to operate now, but we live on donations from the community. We hope that this will continue to be the case.”

Emergency shelters on the Mexico side of the border aren’t the only ones trying to make an impossible situation work. The emergency shelter network in El Paso, Texas, is also operating at full capacity most days. On Sunday, about 100 immigrants seeking asylum were released onto the streets of downtown El Paso after nonprofit shelters and border patrol facilities were overwhelmed.

The city and county of El Paso are both declaring states of emergency because of immigration and the immigration surge. Most immigrants leaving the shelters in Juarez will eventually seek refuge in El Paso for at least a day or two before leaving the border and heading to cities in the interior of the United States.

Migrant children make art while waiting at the Casa Del Migrente Juarez shelter in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Migrant children make art while waiting at the Casa del Migrante.
Go to Nakamura/New York Post

The disaster declarations will allow local government to seek state and federal funding to cover costs related to the influx, including the establishment of a temporary shelter to be run jointly by the city and county.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/19/mexican-border-city-becomes-waiting-room-for-us-bound-immigrants/ A Mexican border town becomes the “waiting room” for immigrants to the United States

JACLYN DIAZ

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