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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    PARADISE (San Diego)

    Africans, Cubans pack Mexican shelters, hoping for a shot at asylum

    Africans, Cubans pack Mexican shelters, hoping for a shot at asylum

    By Dudley Althaus, Correspondent May 18, 2019

    1of30Razor wire attached to traffic barriers have been placed on the international bridge separating Laredo and Nuevo Laredo in anticipation of any migrant problems.Photo: Bob Owen, Staff Photographer / Staff photographer

    2of30Razor wire attached to traffic barriers have been placed on the international bridge separating Laredo and Nuevo Laredo in anticipation of any migrant problems.Photo: Bob Owen, Staff Photographer / Staff photographer

    3of30A woman from Africa carries a pot of water for cooking at the Municipal Shelter in Nuevo Laredo which was built to hold 250, but now is over crowded with 700 people, 400 of which are Africans, on Wednesday, May 15, 2019.Photo: Bob Owen, Staff Photographer / Staff photographer

    NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico — Tired? Check. Poor? Certainly. Yearning for American oxygen? Lord, yes.

    “I can see Texas across the river, but I am not sure when we’ll get there or where we go then,” said Igor Nyangi, 36, a lawyer from the Democratic Republic of Congo, huddling with his wife and two young children. They and 700 other migrants are staying in a teeming compound a dozen blocks south of the Rio Grande.

    “We trust in God that it will be better,” he said.

    Even as President Trump tightens the screws along the Southwest U.S. border, migrants and refugees — from Central America, Cuba, West Africa, Mexico and elsewhere — are pouring into Nuevo Laredo and other Mexican border cities by the thousands.

    These travelers say they’re determined to grasp a future that providence so far has denied them.

    Trump’s rampart, they insist, is but another stone in their well-worn shoes.

    “God has to touch his heart. It is the only way,” said Guatemalan Basilia Mejia, 42. She’s living with a teenage daughter and the girl’s six-month-old son in an overcrowded shelter run by an evangelical pastor in Reynosa, 130 miles downriver from Laredo.

    “They say the door that man closes only God can open,” she said.
    Detentions along the border have spiked this year as tens of thousands of Central Americans, many of them teenagers traveling alone or adults with young children, cross illegally to surrender to the Border Patrol in hopes of winning a foothold in America.

    U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents processed some 109,000 such migrants in April, the highest monthly tally since 2007. Migrant detentions have doubled from a year ago. They are projected to exceed 1 million by year’s end, rivaling the peak years two decades ago.

    Most of the asylum petitions ultimately will be denied by immigration judges. But saturated court dockets ensure that many will have at least a few years to plan their next move.

    ‘We want to be legal’

    Rather than crossing the border illegally, many of the migrants packed into Mexican border shelters hope to improve their chances of winning asylum by following Trump administration demands that they apply at official ports of entry on the Rio Grande bridges and Southwest desert crossings.

    “We want to be legal,” said Nyangi, the lawyer, who said he fled political persecution in Congo. He spoke in broken English as a setting sun eased the heat inside the high-walled temporary municipal shelter in downtown Nuevo Laredo. “We want to do this properly.”

    Trump has dubbed the entire asylum system a “scam.” U.S. border guards have been ordered to process only a relative handful of asylum applications per week. Mexican officials, striving to cooperate with the White House, require that asylum-seekers enter U.S. border posts according to waiting lists kept by the shelters.

    A process that took days last year, or a few weeks more recently, now can require months of waiting.
    Officials in Nuevo Laredo say some 2,500 migrants are sleeping in six shelters in the city. At least 700 of them are men, women and children from the Congo, Angola and elsewhere in Africa.

    Many of the rest hail from Cuba.

    In Ciudad Juárez, across the river from El Paso, officials have counted at least 4,500 Cubans waiting to file petitions for asylum. Thousands more migrants have lined up in Reynosa, Matamoros, Piedras Negras and other Mexican cities along the Rio Grande.

    “The whole border is like this,” said Omar Enriquez, director of civil protection in Nuevo Laredo. “We can’t just leave them in the streets.

    Many are coming with young children. We have to give them shelter. We have to tend to them.”

    When gangland warfare erupted more than a dozen years ago, many Mexican border cities became some of the world’s deadliest. The bloodshed has ebbed, but public safety in Nuevo Laredo and many other cities remains precarious.

    Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has cited the security threats in defending his government’s new policy of trying to deter migrants from traveling north after they cross the country’s southern border. After taking office in December, López Obrador briefly offered work permits and humanitarian visas to migrants from Central America.

    “We don’t want them to have free passage,” López Obrador said last month, “not only for legal reasons but also for security.”

    López Obrador has also expressed a desire for good relations with the Trump administration.

    “We don’t want to fight with the United States government,” he said in the same address. “We don’t want confrontation. We have a friendly relationship.”

    Mexico’s policy shift has led to the detention and deportation of Central Americans traveling in caravans. It’s caused riots by Cubans, Africans and migrants held at a Mexican immigration holding facilities in Tapachula, in the southernmost state of Chiapas.

    Teeming and tense
    Central Americans, Cubans and a trickle of other foreigners have been crossing the border here for decades. But the arrival of hundreds of Congolese and other West African families has exacerbated tensions in the overcrowded shelters.

    “The truth is the city is not accustomed to receive people from strange places,” said Hector Garza, a Nuevo Laredo official working to keep order in the municipal shelter, where 700 people are packed into a space intended for a third that many.

    Intended to serve local homeless or migrants needing just a few days respite, the shelter has housed some migrants for several months.

    Whatever these travelers might be officially called, this seems as raw a refugee camp as can be found anywhere in the world.

    Pup tents and makeshift plastic lean-tos crowd the concrete floor of the roofless, block-sized compound. The Africans congregate on one side of the space, Cubans, Venezuelans and other Latin Americans on the other.

    Women prepare meals in an open-air kitchen or on piles of charcoal. Water from a hose trickles into buckets that the migrants use for bathing, washing dishes or drinking. A handful of portable toilets line one wall.

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  2. #2
    Moderator Beezer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Send buses to Mexico and transport them to barges BACK home!

    We do not want them here!


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