Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, May 8 (EFE).- Shelters on Mexico’s northern border are preparing for an increased flow of migrants with the expiration of the US regulation known as Title 42 this week, a situation that many migrants view as a chance to cross the border without risking being immediately deported if apprehended by US immigration authorities.
In Ciudad Juarez, across the Rio Grande – known in Mexico as the Rio Bravo – from El Paso, Texas, estimates are that more than 35,000 migrants are staying in local shelters, although hundreds of them are sleeping on the streets, where some are working informally cleaning windows of selling candy.
One example of the situation is “The Good Samaritan,” a shelter that in February increased its capacity from 50 to 180 people amid the growing presence of migrants in the border city.
“It’s probable that if migrant flows increase, this situation is going to get complicated and probably some (criminal) groups will take advantage of it to get (migrants) across (the border) illegally,” Juan Fierro, the director of The Good Samaritan, told EFE.
The uncertainty on the border is growing with the approach of the lapsing of Title 42 on Thursday, the measure having been implemented by Republican President Donald Trump but later maintained by Democrat Joe Biden to expel migrants on a fast track using the pretext of preventing potential coronavirus carriers from remaining in the US, although now the US government is set to declare an end to the pandemic.
“Tierra de Oro” (Land of Gold) is another of the shelters expecting an increase in migrants this week, although activists still don’t know for certain what changes this will mean in terms of deportations from US territory.
“We’ve had a visit from the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Here, we shelter 37 migrants and we’re preparing for them to tell us how the procedure will be when Title 42 is eliminated and Title 8 comes into effect,” Julia Luciana, the shelter manager, told EFE.
Her suggestion is that the best way to cross into the US is legally using the CBPOne online application to receive an appointment to request asylum in that country, although migrants have been complaining that the app has too many problems.
“My recommendation is to have patience in arranging your migration situation,” Luciana said.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has denied that Mexico will face a greater influx of migrants with the end of Title 42.
“With the information we’ve got, we’re thinking that the migration flow is not going to increase because an option, an alternative is opening up,” Lopez Obrador said at his regular morning press conference last Friday.
But there is desperation among the migrants who are stranded on the border, where they are facing obstacles in accessing legal methods of crossing into the US.
“I waited here (in Ciudad Juarez) for three weeks for an appointment, I entered the United States and they took away my documents. It’s been two months since they returned me to this city and I’m going to (stay) calm,” said Venezuelan Julio Cesar Aguilar, who is currently staying at the Tierra de Oro shelter.
Meanwhile, other migrants, like Franklin Castillo, also from Venezuela, are viewing the end of Title 42 as a chance to cross the border.
“As the elimination of Title 42 approaches, uncertainty is growing. I tell my companions not to risk crossing illegally (because) they could be deported,” he said.
The region is facing an unprecedented migrant flow with more than 2.76 million undocumented migrants having been intercepted by US authorities on the southern border during Fiscal Year 2022.
Mexico, too, registered an annual increase in “people in an irregular (immigration) situation,” meaning those without documents, of more than 43 percent in 2022, when 444,439 were registered.