- Lear sales
- BBC World Correspondent in Los Angeles
“We’re human beings, we’re human beings, we have rights, it’s not fair for them to treat us like this, we have children, they don’t care, we’ve been in Mexico for a long time.”
Genesis Barra, a Venezuelan woman, carried a minor on her shoulders and wailed through the crowd.
The newspaper recorded the scene true On March 12, on the Paso del Norte International Bridge that connects the Mexican municipality of Ciudad Juárez with El Paso in the United States.
Was very recent Mass crossing attempt The border region between Mexico and the United States is experiencing an influx of migrants fueled in part by rumors circulating on social networks.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) closed the bridge to pedestrian traffic and the situation ended with agents in riot gear chasing away immigrants. But the next day, Ciudad Juárez Mayor Cruz Pérez Cuéllar said the area was a great demonstration of the pressure cooker it had become.
“That’s the truth Our patience is running low“, he confirmed in his weekly appearance. “In this sense (with the migrants who are stuck in the US), we are going to have a strong position to take care of the city.”
That tension and frustration, organizations and experts agree Background of tragedy This Monday night, Mexico’s National Immigration Agency (INM) took place at the detention center in the border municipality. At least 40 people were killed in the fire and 29 injured.
The entire border region, not just Ciudad Juárez-El Paso, is experiencing record migration flows, and it has created headaches for the Joe Biden government and Mexico, which has become a tense control room.
More than two million people were arrested trying to cross For the US in the last fiscal year that ended on September 30, it was up 24% from the previous year. Of the total number of those arrested, 500,000 were linked to citizens of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.
Last December alone, US border agents detained 251,483 people, five times more than the same month in 2019.
According to CBP data, 202,000 people were deported to their home countries through Title 8, while the rest were controversially sent to Mexico. Title 42.
It’s an old order that the Trump administration has revived in the wake of the pandemic and that allows foreign nationals to be rejected without permission to seek asylum and, despite being one of his key campaign promises, the Joe Biden administration has not ended. Get it back.
Meanwhile, to contain the crisis and slow the flow, the US President launched a series of plans, the last of which he announced on January 5 and went into effect the next day.
Biden said The US will admit 30,000 immigrants each month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela.But it would tighten restrictions on those trying to cross the border into Mexico without the necessary documents.
Fees are limited to those who already have a financial sponsor in the United States, pass a background check, and pass a security investigation.
In turn, Mexico has agreed to accept 30,000 migrants a month—from these four countries—who try to walk or swim into the United States and return. Normally they would be sent to their home countries, but Washington cannot easily deport people from those countries, for a variety of reasons, as it has strained relations with their governments.
“Don’t show up at the border. Stay where you are and request (access) legally,” the US president warned.
That’s the way to do it By of CBP One appAllows asylum seekers to schedule arrival at US ports of entry in Nogales (Arizona), Brownsville, Hidalgo, Laredo, Eagle Pass and El Paso (Texas), Calexico and San Ysidro (California).
The application has become the last leg of a long journey for thousands of migrants stranded on the Mexican side around those border crossings, hoping repeal of Title 42 would allow them to cross the border. To seek refuge in the northern country.
“Three months of trying of ask date”
“We’ve been trying to use the application for three months,” said Alian, another of those who walked to the Paso del Norte International Bridge on March 12, his 4-year-old son on his shoulder.
“We try every day and nothing. Meanwhile, when we have money we rent a place to sleep and when we don’t, we sleep on the streets.
Testimonials like yours from immigrants Computer crashes and those who are not appointed, will be repeated at the border; From Reynosa, the border of American Hidalgo, to Matamoros, the border of Brownsville.
“Some people get up before dawn and go to places where they think they have the best connection to try it,” journalist Manuel Noctis told BBC Mundo about the situation in the Mexican border city of Tijuana.
And it has a day There are 700 and 800 junctions Eight ports of entryAnd organizations that work with immigrants assess that they are More than 100,000 people trying to get one.
“This leads to irregular crossings of the river and a great deal of concentration in shelters,” Noctis points out, a common problem in other border municipalities.
An increase in tension
But nowhere is integration more evident than in Ciudad Juarez.
Many of those living in a camp of hundreds of tents set up next to the border fence, which authorities removed in November, The majority of Venezuelans, Now they are wandering to the municipality.
“They are desperate. They have run out of money and many are selling popsicles and flowers or begging for crosses“, local journalist Itzel Aguilera tells BBC Mundo.
While dozens of citizens show solidarity with them, others, fueled by some political rhetoric, view their presence with disbelief and weariness, Aguilera admits.
“A critical moment has arrived Stop And there has to be a breaking point in this regard,” said the mayor, appealing to that sentiment, on March 13.
“It is necessary, because It can affect the economy of the city And thousands of people from Juarez and El Paso, or from Las Cruces, for actions like the one we saw yesterday, completely out of touch with border reality,” he added.
He pointed out that there were “some complaints” about the presence of men begging on the streets and called on citizens not to give money – “Some don’t want to work because they say ‘I get more on a cruise ship’ -, while declaring a strong position to face what is happening. .
While civil society organizations working in the sector point out that hardening is not new, it has been for weeks Condemnation of irregularities in migration control measuresArbitrary arrests, extortion and destruction of documents etc.
BBC Mundo repeatedly called the Ciudad Juárez city council to request an interview about how this situation is connected to Monday’s tragedy, but each time they were told that neither the mayor nor representatives of the local government were present at the time.
Meanwhile, investigations continue to clarify what happened this Monday at the temporary shelter in Ciudad Juárez.
The origin of the fire is unknown, but several witnesses assured local media that it started in an area occupied by male settlers, so it is suspected that the fire was caused by migrants.
This thesis draws strength from the declarations of the immigration authorities. In their statement, they strongly rejected “the actions that led to this tragedy”.
Migrants, who the authorities believe they are They were detained Monday on the streets of Ciudad Juárez for lack of papersThey wanted to leave the center to avoid being sent to the southern border of Mexico.
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