El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, are ready for 5,000 migrants a day when pandemic-era immigration restrictions expire this week, including emergency housing, food, and other supplies.
On Sunday morning, merely mounds of clothes, shoes, and bags remained on the Mexican side of the international border, where hundreds of migrants had queued up to turn themselves in to US officials two days earlier.
Following an illegal border crossing, a young Ecuadorian asked two journalists what would happen if he turned himself in to El Paso without a US sponsor, such as a family or host who can attest for someone throughout the lengthy asylum process.
Leapt Across the Low Water
He joined a dozen others waiting at a short barrier ringed by six border security vehicles on the American side. No US officials were present.
After Title 42 expired on Wednesday, the area braced for a tripling of illegal immigrants crossing the border into west Texas every day.
After a federal appeals court declined to suspend a judge’s judgement last month that invalidated Title 42, Republican authorities led by Arizona and Louisiana attorneys general petitioned the Supreme Court to intervene on Monday.
Carmen Aros, 31, was unfamiliar with US rules at a Ciudad Juárez migrant shelter near the river.
Border May Close on December 21
A month after her sixth daughter was born and her husband disappeared, she left Zacatecas, Mexico to get away from the violence caused by drug cartels.
The Methodist pastor of Buen Samaritano holds her weekly while she awaits parole into the US.
“They told me there was a sanctuary in Juárez, but I didn’t know much,” she observed on her bunk bed with the girls. “We’ve arrived… let’s see if the US government can help us.”
Scores of migrants watched the World Cup final in a vast Mexican government shelter at a former Ciudad Juárez plant on Sunday afternoon, while El Paso doctors treated dozens who acquired colds in the cold weather.
According to Dylan Corbett, director of the Catholic organisation Hope Border Institute, changing restrictions made preparation impossible.
Clinic Operations Started Two Months Ago
“You have a lot of pent-up pain,” Corbett added. “Worried.” “Religious organisations pick up the pieces and live with the consequences” when government programmes fail.
El Paso sleeted as 80 migrants ate volunteer-made tacos. Expect subzero temperatures all week.
Veronica Castorena and her husband brought tortillas, ground beef, and blankets for the needy.
Town trucking school owner Jeff Petion said this was his second time assisting migrants on the streets with employees.
They’re Not Alone
Kathy Countiss, a retiree who lives across the street from Petion, said she was worried that the extra people would make El Paso too crowded and take resources away from criminals and give them to asylum seekers.
On Saturday, Oscar Leeser, the mayor of El Paso, called a state of emergency to get help from the city and state for shelters and other urgent needs.
The county judge, Samaniego, said the decision came one day after El Paso authorities wrote to Texas Governor Greg Abbott demanding humanitarian relief.
Texas and the federal government have spent substantially on security, but the request was for money to care for and remove migrants.
Samaniego said El Paso officials have been working with NGOs to lodge migrants until they are vetted, given sponsors, and transported to bigger towns to be flown or bussed to their destinations.