| 29 February 2024, Thursday |

In a Mexican border camp, asylum seekers wait for Biden to end Trump health directive

 When Salvadoran refuge searcher Liset Ortiz was seized within the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez on her way to the Joined together States, a criminal found the police report she was carrying as verification of the passing dangers she says she gotten in El Salvador for being a lesbian.

So he dragged her absent from her 8-year-old child – who was from a past marriage some time recently she came out as lesbian – and assaulted her, she said. “He told me that he’d appear me he was superior than a lady,” Ortiz described.

Ortiz, 32, and her son were freed from the warehouse where they were held with several other kidnapped women only after her family in the United States wired $4,000 to the kidnappers, her sister in Texas confirmed by phone.

Once discharged, they fled over the border to the Joined together States trusting to look for refuge from the separation she had confronted in El Salvador.

Instep, that same night, U.S. migration specialists sent them back to Mexico beneath a Trump-era wellbeing code that has closed the border to numerous refuge searchers, she said. Reuters might not freely confirm Ortiz’s account.

U.S. President Joe Biden, amid his effective presidential campaign, censured a Trump-era program that returned tens of thousands of Central American refuge searchers to savage Mexican border cities to hold up as their cases wound through U.S. courts. On his to begin with day in office, Biden ended the program.

Yet, he kept in place a Trump-era health order, known as Title 42, that allows U.S. officials to rapidly expel migrants at U.S. borders during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, five months into Biden’s presidency, the scenes at the Mexican border are little changed.

Ortiz and her son are now one of hundreds of Central American families camped at the foot of the international bridge in Reynosa, one of Mexico’s most dangerous cities. The camp is reminiscent of a symbol of Trump’s restrictive immigration policies: the now-closed squalid tent city in another cartel-run border town, Matamoros, 55 miles to the east.

Many of the families living in tents in Reynosa – just across from McAllen, Texas – arrived after they were expelled by U.S. officials to Mexico without a chance to present their asylum claims.

Since Biden took office, U.S. border authorities have recorded more than 400,000 expulsions under Title 42, according to data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency. The vast majority of those expelled are Mexicans and Central Americans. Repeat crossings are common.

A White House representative said Title 42 was a open wellbeing mandate, not an migration authorization instrument, and was essential on wellbeing grounds. The Biden organization says it is working to fortify the refuge framework along the border.

But advocate bunches, U.N. authorities and even a few individual Democrats say the continuation of Title 42 is subjecting vagrants to the same threats – seizingblackmail, and sexual viciousness – as the approaches of the Trump organization.

Nearly 3,300 migrants and asylum seekers stranded in Mexico since Biden took office have been kidnapped, raped, trafficked or assaulted, according to report by the New York-based group Human Rights First released Tuesday.

“We believe that it is time to end Title 42,” Kelly Clements, the deputy high commissioner for the United Nations refugee agency, told Reuters. “We think now it is having the effect of sending more people, and children in this case, into harm’s way.”


In Reynosa, criminal groups for years have fought for control of the region’s lucrative drug trafficking and human smuggling routes. On Saturday, armed gunmen killed 18 apparently randomly selected people in several of its neighborhoods.

In the plaza, migrants run a nightly patrol that has beaten back some gang members who have tried to snatch residents of the encampment, migrants say.

A Reuters witness saw no police stationed near the plaza. The state-level office of public security, state government and federal immigration authorities did not respond to questions about what authorities were doing to protect migrants.

Criminal groups exert considerable control along the border in northeastern Mexico and require migrants to pay to cross their territory.

“I’m perplexed to be here,” said Honduran mother Dolores Zúñiga, 40, who says she was seized together with her 7- and 11-year-old sons when she arrived in Reynosa.

After crossing the border and after that being removed back to Mexico, her runner cautioned Zúñiga that unless she hacks up another $1,500 to a criminal bunch for consent to be in Reynosa, she dangers being seized again.

“They have photographs of me,” she said, covering up interior her sweltering tent, where she appeared Reuters content messages from her bootlegger caution her against indeed wandering to the edge of the square.

  • Reuters