The growing number of asylum seekers arrives in the US


A second migrant caravan of about 1,000 people has arrived in southern Mexico. The largest first caravan is about 250 miles in front of them. (October 30th)

MCALLEN, Texas – The growing number of asylum seekers from Central America cross Texas borders with Mexico, overflows refugee centers and fill federal processing facilities.

The number of families – usually mothers or fathers with young children – captured in the United States Border and Protection Bureau of the Rio Grande Valley increased from 49,896 in the financial year 2017 to 63,278 in the financial year 2018, which ended on 30 September. increase, according to recently published agency statistics.

These figures are in line with an overall increase in concerns for family units across the Southwest border, rising from 41,435 in the year 2017 to 50,036 in the previous financial year, marking an increase of 21%. The Rio Grande Valley, covering 320 short miles, ranging from Rio Grande City to Brownsville and up to the Corpus Christi coast, was the largest contributor to this whole.

The wave of migrants – mainly from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – arrive in large groups, sometimes 70 or 100 at a time, and hamper federal facilities where they process asylum claims.

"These figures are not viable," said Manuel Padilla, head of the sector, in October.

The upsurge of immigrant families comes at a time when borders and immigration take center stage in the political drama that leads to the next week's midterm elections.

President Donald Trab has recently and repeatedly voiced his opposition to a caravan consisting of about 4,000 Central American migrants heading for the US-Mexico border seeking asylum from poverty and violence in their countries. He argues that criminal elements and "unknown Middle East" may be in this group.

On Wednesday, Trump said he was ready to develop up to 15,000 military troops on the southern US border, awaiting the arrival of the caravan.

Rochelle Garza, a Brownsville prosecutor's delegation representing immigrants, said that talk and increased border control make it difficult for people to cross the border by interrupting communities that have lived for generations.

"It's not a political feed – it's real life," said Garza. "It's disappointing, all these people in Washington make those decisions that affect us, it's our community to be separated."

Many of those along the border around McAllen looked at the idea of ​​sending thousands of US soldiers to meet a caravan of traveler-tired refugees who intend to turn right into the beginning when they reach US territory.

The majority of Central Asian asylum seekers are handed over to US border agents to start the asylum procedure – making them a bad company for criminals, said Jennifer Harbury, a civil law lawyer working with migrants.

"Why on Earth will they do that?" said about the possibility that criminals use migrants to enter the US. "It's the same as turning yourself."

Asked about the need for troops to fight refugees, he added, "It's fairy tale stuff."

In Reynosa, just above Rio Grande from McAllen, Hector Silva manages the shelter of migrants Senda de Vida. He said he felt the recent increase in the number of migrants appearing there, mainly women and children. Some asylum seekers who have been deported from the United States and trying to get back, others made their first long trip from Central America, he said.

Many try to enter the official ports of entry to international bridges but to turn from US and Mexican immigration officials. They return to the shelter several days or weeks later, Silva said.

"They find different methods to cross," he said. "If they can not cross the bridge, they will find other ways. We have seen many desperate people."

Accident officials and other officials have stated that asylum seekers must be legally present at official ports of entry rather than crossing Rio Grande illegally. But in places like Reynosa, it has become almost impossible, said Harbury, the civil rights lawyer.

Refugees seeking asylum, even if they have official transit visas in Mexico, are usually turned to the port of entry, he said. US Customs and Border Protection officers stop asylum seekers a few hundred meters from the US processing area and transport them to Mexican immigration agents who are forcing them to return to Mexico or threaten them from the bridge, Harbury.

This forces refugees to take the dangerous step of paying criminal gangs to take them to the river in the US, he said. On Tuesday, two Customs and Border Guard officers checked identities at a checkpoint on the Mexican side of the McAllen / Hidalgo International Bridge, about 200 meters from the US entry point.

"Basically, no one can be found anywhere in Reynosa if they have papers or not," said Harbury. "It 's crazy."

In a statement, a spokesman for the US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection said CBP officers regularly check identity cards to ensure that asylum seekers have "valid entry papers" and manage the site if the processing areas in the port arrive in capacity.

"CBP processes those who have not been documented as quickly as possible without undermining the overall mission of the organization or endangering the security of people in detention," the statement said.

However, the strictest US policies and the range of their lives in criminal gangs do not slow the flow of refugees. The Universal Humanitarian Recreation Center for Charities in McAllen offers asylum seekers a shower room, a hot meal, and family members in the United States. after being processed and released by CBP.

Typically, the center sees between 80 and 120 refugees a day. Last week, an average of 500 refugees a day, forcing organizers to transfer some of them to a Catholic basilica in nearby San Juan, Texas.

Dilmer Godoy, 27, said he spent last month traveling to the United States. from his homeland to the Olancho region of Honduras, with his 3-year-old son Arlin. The couple found their way around the trucks, drove a train and slept in fields to reach the US-Mexico border in Reinosa. He left Honduras because he could not afford a criminal gang that threatened him and his family, he said.

Godoy said he initially wanted to enter the US via an entry port. But when two of his friends showed up on the bridge and deported to Honduras, he paid a $ 500 team to travel himself and Arlin across the Rio Grande.

It is wrong to believe that the caravan and other migrant groups bring criminal data to the US when refugees like themselves leave violence without introducing it, Godoy said.

"We come here because we know about the laws here. We know that if you commit a crime, you go to jail," he said. "We're coming here for security."

Follow Jervis on Twitter: @MrRJervis.

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