Ciudad Juarez (Mexico), Sep 23 (EFE).- Mexico’s northern border is now reflecting a new humanitarian crisis in the country, brought about by a fresh wave of migration. This surge has led to disruptions in freight train services due to accidents involving migrants, protests, and clashes between foreigners and Mexican and US authorities.
The issue is primarily centered in the metropolitan area of Juarez and El Paso, in the US state of Texas, where a camp housing 500 migrants has already been established on the US side of the Rio Grande.
Due to customs capacity limitations, it has also resulted in losing millions of dollars in stranded cargo. Simultaneously, as a greater volume of migrants from Central America and the Caribbean continue to arrive, they are growing to believe that achieving the “American dream” has become more attainable.
This Friday, following a meeting between representatives from all three levels of the Mexican Government, Migration and Municipal Police vehicles patrolled along the Bravo River, where migrants have gathered.
They apprehended those who did not possess a legal permit to prove their stay in the country.
The Mexican Government does not have an estimate of how many migrants are currently in Ciudad Juarez, as hundreds arrive without registration daily, and it remains uncertain how many successfully enter the US.
Activists point out that shelters operate at maximum capacity, with nearly 2,400 individuals awaiting appointments with immigration authorities to regularize their status. Additionally, over 5,000 migrants reside in rented houses, abandoned buildings, and streets.
Ivonne López de Lara, Human Rights Coordinator of Casa del Migrante, one of the shelters assisting mobile individuals, has indicated that they are facing a humanitarian crisis as they are ill-prepared to accommodate the current influx of migrants on the northern border.
“The three levels of government must propose a program or reforms to address these situations, as they negatively impact the population of Ciudad Juarez. They come here out of necessity, not by choice,” added the activist.
According to Border Patrol data, the average number of encounters with individuals crossing into the US illegally increased by 31% in September, with 23,500 more encounters this month.
In August, the figure was 25,236 cases, averaging 814 per day.
Francisco Garduño Yáñez, commissioner of the National Migration Institute (INM), attributed the crisis to the US government, stating that it is already affecting this border region’s economic and social aspects.
“We are not the problem. The problem is the US (…). Appointments at the embassy and the US Consulate are scheduled for two years from now, which is a bureaucracy even more cumbersome than an elephant,” he expressed on Friday in Ciudad Juarez.
The business sector has expressed concern, as, during the week, over 500 million dollars worth of stranded cargo could not be exported.
On Friday night alone, a line of at least 8 kilometers of loaded trailers was still waiting outside the Zaragoza-Ysleta international crossing to enter El Paso, Texas.
“I believe we need to explore alternative solutions (…). If you ask the authorities how many people are here, we do not know. It is a significant problem for the migrants and us, the local population, as we are unsure how to assist,” said Thor Salayandía Lara, the national vice president of Maquiladora and Borders at the National Chamber of the Transformation Industry.
The industrial leader questioned the authorities for allowing the problem to escalate to a level that is beginning to affect the competitiveness of Ciudad Juarez and the entire border area, which heavily relies on foreign trade.
Like Luis Alfredo Torres, many migrants arrive in Ciudad Juarez in northern Mexico. It took him and his family a month and a half to travel from Venezuela to Juarez.
He explained that their decision was driven by the meager $20 salaries his grandparents, who remained in Venezuela, now receive, which he emphasized “are insufficient for survival.”