US provides hope to beforehand denied asylum seekers in camp

MEXICO CITY (AP) — In a camp on the U.S.-Mexico border, some asylum seekers had been instructed by officers that the U.S. authorities might reopen their instances and they might ultimately be capable of enter the U.S. to attend out the asylum course of.

The brand new opening for folks beforehand denied got here as Mexican authorities labored to shut the improvised camp alongside the banks of the Rio Grande that has housed 1000’s of asylum seekers over the greater than two years it existed.

Late Friday night time, an official with Mexico’s Overseas Affairs Ministry mentioned through Twitter that the final asylum seekers with lively instances from the camp had been processed and the camp was closed. Others with closed asylum instances who had been instructed their instances might be reopened had been urged to maneuver to a shelter. However some nonetheless remained within the camp Saturday.

The U.S. Division of Homeland Safety didn’t reply to requests for remark Friday and Saturday.

Final month, the Biden administration started processing asylum seekers who had been pressured to attend out the lengthy course of from Mexico in the course of the administration of former President Donald Trump. The Matamoros camp was probably the most seen indicators of a coverage applied in response to excessive numbers of asylum seekers by an administration that labored in varied methods to make it harder to entry protecting standing in the USA.

On Saturday, Juan Antonio Sierra, who runs the migrant shelter in Matamoros confirmed that he had dedicated to housing asylum seekers with closed instances in order that the camp might be closed.

Sierra mentioned that the day earlier than, the U.S. Consul in Matamoros, Yolanda Parra, met with officers from the UNHCR, the Worldwide Group for Migration, Mexico’s Nationwide Immigration Institute, Sierra and a few migrants. She agreed that the U.S. authorities would consider the attainable reopening of closed instances for the roughly 50 individuals who remained within the camp, Sierra mentioned.

The U.S. State Division referred inquiries to the Division of Homeland Safety.

“I used to be going to take them to the Casa del Migrante till it was positive they had been going to cross,” Sierra mentioned. The aim, he mentioned, was to keep away from new folks arriving on the camp and guarantee that those that had been nonetheless there would solely cross the border when it was clear their instances can be reopened and keep away from that they had been instantly deported.

“They’re making an attempt to reopen (the instances),” Sierra mentioned. “You’re not going to ship an individual in order that they deport them to their nation.” However he mentioned the migrants had been so determined they “wished to go with out ensures.”

Requested if phrase of reopened instances may draw extra folks to the border, Rev. Francisco Gallardo, who’s in command of the shelter, mentioned “the avalanche is already right here, lots of people are arriving.” He warned it may develop into extra difficult, as a result of there have been indicators {that a} new camp would type.


The shelter already has greater than 200 migrants staying there.

By Friday afternoon, solely a number of dozen asylum seekers remained within the riverside camp. Staff dismantled primitive shelters and hauled away transportable bogs. Friday night time, energy was lower to the camp. However even with the promise that their instances might be reopened, many resisted abandoning the camp for concern {that a} much less public house would enable their shrunken quantity to be extra simply ignored by the U.S. authorities.

A Honduran asylum seeker who has lived within the camp for 2 years together with her son mentioned that personnel from the U.N. Excessive Commissioner for Refugees instructed her Friday that “the USA had authorized the reopening of our instances and that we needed to wait some days for them to authorize the crossing to the U.S.”

The lady, a former police officer who requested anonymity as a result of she didn’t need to jeopardize her case, mentioned that the U.S. authorities had rejected her case earlier. With the assistance of attorneys, she appealed and was turned down once more in November. She has filed a subsequent enchantment.

“Now there’s hope,” she mentioned.

Others had been knowledgeable of the identical, she mentioned. Some had been instructed their state of affairs might be addressed in a few days, others in 10 days. She mentioned they didn’t give her a date.

They suggested her to maneuver to an area migrant shelter that would offer higher dwelling situations, however “nobody desires to maneuver as a result of we imagine they’re going to overlook us,” she mentioned.

Beforehand, U.S. officers haven’t mentioned if folks shall be allowed again within the U.S. at some future date to pursue asylum claims that had been denied or dismissed beneath the Trump administration’s so-called Migrant Safety Protocols, higher generally known as “Stay in Mexico.” They’ve described the re-entry of an estimated 26,000 folks with lively instances as an preliminary step however haven’t mentioned what any subsequent measures would entail.

The Matamoros camp has been an uncomfortable monument to the distinctive coverage for its residents, in addition to the U.S. and Mexican governments.

Non-governmental org anizations and volunteers ultimately gave it some group and fundamental sanitation and well being providers, nevertheless it existed in a metropolis held within the sway of organized crime. Many residents had been petrified of venturing past its borders for concern of rampant kidnappings and extortion.


Human Rights Watch revealed a report Friday that mentioned it “has constantly discovered that migrants in Mexico are uncovered to rape, kidnapping, extortion, assault, and psychological trauma.”

“Tens of 1000’s of migrant households, together with Venezuelans looking for safety from torture, persecution, and arbitrary imprisonment, have been deserted by the U.S. and Mexican governments to undergo extortion and violence in Mexico,” mentioned José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch.

In late January, 19 folks — 16 of them Guatemalan migrants — had been shot useless close to Camargo, upriver from Matamoros close to the border with Texas. A dozen state police have been arrested in reference to their killings.

On Monday, in Nuevo Laredo, one other Tamaulipas border metropolis, a Honduran lady and her 10-year-old son had been shot and gravely wounded.

The Honduras consul within the space, Juan Carlos Ponce, confirmed the assault and mentioned that Thursday they remained hospitalized, however declined to share particulars as a result of they had been victims of a severe crime.

On Thursday, 10 Democratic members of Congress instructed U.S. Secretary of Antony Blinken that the U.S. authorities should assist to push for better protections for migrants and asylum seekers ready in Mexico.


AP writers Alfredo Peña in Ciudad Victoria, Mexico and Elliot Spagat in San Diego contributed to this report.


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