MATAMOROS, Mexico (CNS) – Idalia Reyes is living in Matamoros – opposite Brownsville, Texas, as part of the Migrant Protection Protocols, (MPP) which forces asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico as their cases are heard in U.S. courts.
Details on what comes next for the asylum-seekers remains uncertain, and many still have U.S. court dates, which had been pushed repeatedly into the future during the pandemic.
Catholics working with program participants are urging them to remain patient. Some are encouraging the Biden administration to wind down the program, which they describe as “unjust” and designed to discourage asylum-seekers.
“(It) should be eliminated. It doesn’t make sense for anyone,” said Scalabrinian Father Pat Murphy, director of a migrant shelter in Tijuana. “An asylum process that is fair should be started after so many years of injustice.”
Despite the dearth of details, the prospect of an overhaul under a new U.S. administration has buoyed the spirits among asylum-seekers stranded in unsafe Mexican cities the length of the U.S. – Mexico border.
“Biden is their hope,” said Juan Sierra, a lay volunteer with the Diocese of Matamoros’ migrant ministry. Adding to the expectations, he said, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visited the camp in December 2019 and served them lunch.Sierra and the local diocese – along with volunteers, mostly from the United States – have attended to the camp, which once hosted an estimated 3,000 asylum-seekers. Its population has dwindled to roughly 700 as people found other housing, applied for asylum in Mexico, returned to their country of origin or risked [crossing] the Rio Grande.
Many people, in their desperation, go to the river and try to cross. But, many drown,” said Dominican Brother Obed Cuellar, director of the diocesan shelter in Piedras Negras.
Sandro Hernandez, an Afro-Honduran, traveled to Mexico in a 2019 caravan. “When I heard about Biden, I headed here,” he said. “I am looking for a better future. Hopefully, I can fix my paperwork like the U.S. president is talking about.” To read the complete article click here