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article imageMexico closes temporary migrant shelter near Texas border

By Karen Graham     Feb 19, 2019 in World
Piedras Negras - Officials in Mexico's northern border state of Coahuila said Tuesday they have closed a shelter in the border city of Piedras Negras where as many as 1,900 Central American migrants had been confined during the past two weeks.
The shelter, an old factory - has been used as a temporary shelter for the nearly 2,000 migrants that arrived there on dozens of buses February 4, according to the Washington Examiner.
Jose Borrego, a Coahuila state spokesman, confirmed that the shelter in Piedras Negras, across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas, was closed Tuesday, a day earlier than scheduled. Many of the migrants, mostly from Guatemala and Honduras, have already been bused to neighboring states, leading to accusations that Coahuila is dumping the migrants on other cities to get rid of their problem.
The mayor of Ciudad Juarez, Armando Cabada, said Monday he might file a complaint against Coahuila officials. "They are offering them free transportation to bring them here. That kind of thing is not fair," Cabada said.
The migrants at the shelter had been waiting for entry into the United States, with the intention of applying for asylum. But only a dozen were allowed to request asylum at the Eagle Pass crossing each day. Other than the few each day allowed out of the shelter, Mexican police have guarded the fenced-in warehouse 24 hours a day.
Trump policy change adds to problem
The Trump administration's policy change that went into effect recently, forces migrants requesting asylum to stay in Mexico while their cases move through the immigration courts, a process that can take weeks or even months.
At least twice last week, some migrants, frustrated at the long wait behind the heavily guarded facility, tried to break out and fought federal police. Those who fought police were immediately deported.
Miguel Riquelme, governor of Mexico's Coahuila state, said Mara Salvatrucha members (MS-13) were hiding in the group of around 1,600 migrants staying at a federally operated facility
"We have data that there are agitators inside the shelter, that there are members of the caravan who are provoking others, some of them belong to the Mara Salvatrucha , some others who bring criminal records in their country and what we have been doing is deporting them directly with Migration," Riquelme told local reporters, according to an English language translation.
The idea of holding people for weeks and maybe months in a detention facility - along with the high costs involved in providing for them resulted in the government allowing migrants to apply for visas to legally work and live in the country. Instead of a fence at its Southern border, Mexico now has a gate, and it is wide open, although migrants have to stand in a long line to get in. But it is part of Mexico's new open door migration policy that started last week, according to CBS News.
In the meantime, the Trump administration, in a show of force- has flooded Eagle Pass, right across the border, with hundreds of law enforcement personnel. Over 100 U.S. police vehicles have lined a one-mile stretch of the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas, every day.
Last month, border patrol sources told Fox News that authorities arrested "more than 100 people believed to be El Salvadorian gang members" in the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector in Texas since last October.
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