Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

World

At the US-Mexican border, migrants give up hope of crossing

-

In muddy makeshift camps in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, more than 1,000 migrants had waited for weeks for a chance to request asylum in the United States, enduring cold nights and long days of uncertainty.

Frustrated, many are giving up and clearing out.

Authorities say as of last week, there were still about 1,400 migrants, most of them from southwestern Mexico, holding out hope under tents and tarps not far from the Rio Grande.

Temperatures along the US-Mexico border have dropped in recent days to the freezing mark  forcing mi...
Temperatures along the US-Mexico border have dropped in recent days to the freezing mark, forcing migrants to warm themselves by open fires
Paul Ratje, AFP

But on Thursday, only about 700 remained. The others grew tired of the near-freezing temperatures at night and the seemingly fruitless quest to be heard by US officials.

Local associations convinced several families to head to shelters or hotels when the mercury started to plummet.

Some instead made their way across the river, without any idea if they would succeed.

Rosa is in charge of the murky wait list system the migrants use to keep track of who arrived first ...
Rosa is in charge of the murky wait list system the migrants use to keep track of who arrived first, so they can convince US border agents to take them in order
Paul Ratje, AFP

And still others opted to remain -- they are afraid to lose their place on the murky wait list system they themselves created to convince US border agents to take them in order of their arrival.

"They won't let us proceed unless we hand them our slips to show them we have indeed been waiting," said Rosa, who keeps up the list on a daily basis.

More than a quarter of the families in the camp do not have any form of shelter at all and sleep in ...
More than a quarter of the families in the camp do not have any form of shelter at all and sleep in the open air
Paul Ratje, AFP

Every night, the men and women at the camp keep watch on the comings and goings on the bridge crossing the Rio Grande -- the natural, international border -- to make sure new arrivals don't jump the queue.

- 'The cartels threatened us' -

This man from Mexico's Guerrero state says drug gangs threatened his family and then seized the...
This man from Mexico's Guerrero state says drug gangs threatened his family and then seized their home
Paul Ratje, AFP

According to a survey recently led by several universities in northern Mexico, 60 percent of displaced people in camps wait their turn in tents, but more than a quarter are sleeping in the open air.

Many migrants say they are fleeing violence in their hometowns.

"The cartels threatened us and took our land," said one man from Guerrero state.

A baby doll is among the belongings left by those migrants who have abandoned the border camp
A baby doll is among the belongings left by those migrants who have abandoned the border camp
Paul Ratje, AFP

"At first, they asked us for money," he explained. "But when we could no longer pay, they took our house. They gave us two weeks" to get out, he added.

Officials in Ciudad Juarez -- once known as the "murder capital of the world" -- are trying to be flexible about the influx of migrants.

"We understand that US authorities administratively can't process all of these requests," said Enrique Valenzuela, who works for a Chihuahua state agency tasked with local population issues.

"Most of these people are alleged victims in some way," he said.

Only about 700 migrants are left at the camp in Ciudad Juarez
Only about 700 migrants are left at the camp in Ciudad Juarez
Paul Ratje, AFP

"They say that they either have been threatened for some reason -- themselves or their families -- or they have either lost a loved one or a neighbor," he added.

"We cannot impede their entrance and it would be wrong for us to do so."

In muddy makeshift camps in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, more than 1,000 migrants had waited for weeks for a chance to request asylum in the United States, enduring cold nights and long days of uncertainty.

Frustrated, many are giving up and clearing out.

Authorities say as of last week, there were still about 1,400 migrants, most of them from southwestern Mexico, holding out hope under tents and tarps not far from the Rio Grande.

Temperatures along the US-Mexico border have dropped in recent days to the freezing mark  forcing mi...

Temperatures along the US-Mexico border have dropped in recent days to the freezing mark, forcing migrants to warm themselves by open fires
Paul Ratje, AFP

But on Thursday, only about 700 remained. The others grew tired of the near-freezing temperatures at night and the seemingly fruitless quest to be heard by US officials.

Local associations convinced several families to head to shelters or hotels when the mercury started to plummet.

Some instead made their way across the river, without any idea if they would succeed.

Rosa is in charge of the murky wait list system the migrants use to keep track of who arrived first ...

Rosa is in charge of the murky wait list system the migrants use to keep track of who arrived first, so they can convince US border agents to take them in order
Paul Ratje, AFP

And still others opted to remain — they are afraid to lose their place on the murky wait list system they themselves created to convince US border agents to take them in order of their arrival.

“They won’t let us proceed unless we hand them our slips to show them we have indeed been waiting,” said Rosa, who keeps up the list on a daily basis.

More than a quarter of the families in the camp do not have any form of shelter at all and sleep in ...

More than a quarter of the families in the camp do not have any form of shelter at all and sleep in the open air
Paul Ratje, AFP

Every night, the men and women at the camp keep watch on the comings and goings on the bridge crossing the Rio Grande — the natural, international border — to make sure new arrivals don’t jump the queue.

– ‘The cartels threatened us’ –

This man from Mexico's Guerrero state says drug gangs threatened his family and then seized the...

This man from Mexico's Guerrero state says drug gangs threatened his family and then seized their home
Paul Ratje, AFP

According to a survey recently led by several universities in northern Mexico, 60 percent of displaced people in camps wait their turn in tents, but more than a quarter are sleeping in the open air.

Many migrants say they are fleeing violence in their hometowns.

“The cartels threatened us and took our land,” said one man from Guerrero state.

A baby doll is among the belongings left by those migrants who have abandoned the border camp

A baby doll is among the belongings left by those migrants who have abandoned the border camp
Paul Ratje, AFP

“At first, they asked us for money,” he explained. “But when we could no longer pay, they took our house. They gave us two weeks” to get out, he added.

Officials in Ciudad Juarez — once known as the “murder capital of the world” — are trying to be flexible about the influx of migrants.

“We understand that US authorities administratively can’t process all of these requests,” said Enrique Valenzuela, who works for a Chihuahua state agency tasked with local population issues.

“Most of these people are alleged victims in some way,” he said.

Only about 700 migrants are left at the camp in Ciudad Juarez

Only about 700 migrants are left at the camp in Ciudad Juarez
Paul Ratje, AFP

“They say that they either have been threatened for some reason — themselves or their families — or they have either lost a loved one or a neighbor,” he added.

“We cannot impede their entrance and it would be wrong for us to do so.”

AFP
Written By

With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

You may also like:

Business

US President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address - Copyright AFP Kazuhiro NOGIPresident Joe Biden called on US lawmakers Tuesday to...

Business

An activist with India's opposition Congress party shouts slogans in Kolkata as he burns an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and tycoon Gautam...

Business

Google on Wednesday announced a slew of features powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) as it ramped up a battle with Microsoft.

Tech & Science

The electric molecular motor is based on a [3]catenane whose components ― a loop interlocked with two identical rings ― are redox active, that...