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Thread: With U.S. hearings months away, migrants back in Juárez with no place to stay

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

    With U.S. hearings months away, migrants back in Juárez with no place to stay

    With U.S. hearings months away, migrants back in Juárez with no place to stay, few options

    Aaron Montes, El Paso Times
    Published 2:26 p.m. MT May 8, 2019

    JUÁREZ, Mexico — Pablo Chuk and about 20 other Central American immigrants waited at a cathedral in Juárez late last week after pleading with church staff for sanctuary.

    The 40-year-old stood outside in the shade of the Catedral de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe with other men from Guatemala who were traveling alone. Some parents stood in the sun and looked uneasy as their children played with toy trucks at their feet, and other families made their way inside the church to sit and pray.

    None of them had anywhere to go, Chuk said.

    A group of migrants returned to Juárez, under the Trump administration's Migrant Protection Protocols, seek refuge at the Catedral de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe. (Photo: Aaron Montes)

    The members of the group had completed the long journeys from their home countries to the U.S. last Monday, when they crossed the border illegally and turned themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents.

    They were processed at a temporary facility in El Paso on Tuesday, and by Wednesday, they were back in Juárez.

    They had bypassed a system that effectively forces immigrants to wait in Juárez while U.S. Customs and Border Protection clears space for legal asylum claims at the ports. But because of the Trump administration's new Migrant Protection Protocols, commonly called the Remain in Mexico policy, they were sent to wait in Juárez anyway — with hearings scheduled many months from now.

    Now they may have lost their spaces at shelters in Juárez and some appear to have turned over documents to U.S. immigration officials that might have allowed them to live and work in Mexico.

    Buy PhotoMigrants find anywhere they can to sleep at the Albergue Para Migrantes “El Buen Pastor” in Juarez as they await their number to be called by U.S. authorities for their asylum hearing. (Photo: Mark Lambie / El Paso Times)

    MPP further strains Juárez shelters

    Since November, more than 13,000 immigrants have arrived in Juárez from Central America, Cuba, and other parts of the world, according to Chihuahua state officials.

    Last week, more than 4,500 were waiting to make it to the United States to make their first asylum claim. An additional 1,200 have been returned to Juárez to await their court hearings since the MPP policy started in El Paso in March.

    “There are no shelters that can sustain the number of people returning,” said Rogelio Pinal, the director of Juárez’s Derechos Humanos, one of three agencies in the city that helps place migrants in shelters.

    As immigrants continue to arrive and others are returned, Mexico officials in Juárez are running out of places for immigrants to stay while they wait to go — or return — to the United States.

    Buy PhotoPastor Juan Fierro has been housing asylum seekers at his Albergue Para Migrantes “El Buen Pastor” in Juarez since the migration from Central America began. (Photo: Mark Lambie / El Paso Times)

    Juan Fierro Garcia, a Methodist pastor who leads the Buen Pastor church in the hills of Juárez, has sheltered immigrant families and individuals far beyond the church's capacity. Buen Pastor's buildings have room for about 60 people but, last week, 120 immigrants were staying at his church.

    The 60-year-old Fierro said he would rather strain his building's capacity than leave migrants on the street.

    Migrants sleep on orange benches and in between the pews in the church's worship hall. The church owns two small detached buildings, where migrants sleep squeezed together on mats and bunk beds.

    The church is housing immigrants awaiting their first chance at an asylum claim and those who were returned after their court dates were scheduled. Neither group seems ready to consider long-term options in Mexico, Fierro said.

    “The people don’t have the capacity or the emotional strength to look for a house or start a new life in this country,” he said. “They had hope in the United States.”

    Buy PhotoJuan Fierro looks through a warehouse across from his current migrant shelter in Juarez he is converting into more space to house asylum seekers. His current shelter, Albergue Para Migrantes “El Buen Pastor” has been full since the influx of migrants began. (Photo: Mark Lambie / El Paso Times)

    Immigration court hearings months away

    Fierro has told immigrants that they cannot stay at the church while their cases move through the U.S. courts. He must make room for the steady stream of people arriving in Juárez to make their initial U.S. asylum plea.

    When the Remain in Mexico policy first took effect, hearings were scheduled weeks after immigrants made their initial asylum claims. Now those court dates are months away.

    Chuk and other members of the group he crossed with had hearings scheduled in late September and early October.

    Mexican government officials say they are prioritizing assistance for migrant families, especially mothers and their children. The city has 10 registered shelters, coordinated by the federal government's Instituto Nacional de Migracion, as well as an agency called Grupo Beta.

    For Chuk and other men traveling alone, that means finding hotels or other rooms for rent — which can be difficult because many arrive with little or no money.

    In fact, Chuk left his wife and children in Guatemala to find a way to provide for them. Like many of the immigrants who have fled his country, Chuk was also worried about the threat of violence by gangs and other criminal groups, but it was the economy that he said forced him to leave.

    “There’s so much poverty,” he said.

    Buy PhotoA woman from El Salvador organizes her family’s clothing a the Albergue Para Migrantes in Juarez as they await their initial asylum hearing. (Photo: Mark Lambie / El Paso Times)

    MPP has created struggles in court, Mexico

    Since the MPP policy started in March in El Paso, more than 100 immigrants have attended hearings at immigration courts. About 35 missed their scheduled hearings.

    None of those cases have been decided. Judge Nathan Herbert, who has presided over all the MPP cases in the El Paso area, has rescheduled hearings for all of the immigrants affected by the MPP.

    This week, a panel of judge's from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the Trump administration can continue to send immigrants back to Mexico while the legality of the MPP policy is decided.

    Local immigration attorneys have said migrants show up to court with documents from U.S. authorities that lack their identification numbers and have inaccurate addresses of their residences in Juárez.

    Pinal, of Juárez’s Derechos Humanos agency, said most migrants who are returned to Mexico have their addresses listed as that of a church-run shelter, Casa del Migrante, but they are not always able to stay there.

    “Who gave the American authorities authorization to do that?” he said. “I have to take into account if they have space” at that shelter.

    Pinal said placing inaccurate addresses on migrants' paperwork prompts confusion when trying to locate migrants at specific shelters.

    The Department of Homeland Security declined to speak directly about the accuracy of addresses or its documents, referring only to an informational webpage about the MPP policy.

    Herbert has rescheduled hearings to allow immigrants more time to seek representation and speak with their lawyers.

    Asylum seekers returned to Mexico under the Trump administration's MPP program are brought to immigration court in El Paso. (Photo: Aaron Montes)

    However, Linda Rivas, the executive director of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, worries that lawyers still struggle to represent their immigrant clients when they are in Juárez.

    And Taylor Levy, legal coordinator for the El Paso immigrant aid nonprofit Annunciation House, said that concerns the MPP program would create confusion and difficulty for immigrants trying to receive adequate legal representation were realized during the hearings over the last several weeks.

    "It’s clear that no matter how nice the judge is and the time he gives us, it’s fundamentally difficult for due process,” she said.

    Buy PhotoA Ugandan asylum seeker studies her bible as she waits for her number to be called by U.S. authorities to plead her asylum case. A group of Ugandans are at the Albergue para Migrantes “El Buen Pastor” in Juarez. (Photo: Mark Lambie / El Paso Times)

    About the Migrant Protection Protocols

    The MPP system has created problems for immigrants in Mexico, too.

    When they are returned to Mexico, most immigrants do not know where they will stay until their hearing and they have few legal options to begin working.

    Several immigrants interviewed last week said they were returned to Mexico without their birth certificates or other documentation from their home countries that prove their identities. Mexican officials interviewed backed up those claims.

    U.S. immigration officials also declined to answer questions about their policies regarding documents, again referring to the MPP informational website.

    Without documents, it is difficult for migrants to apply for temporary visas — or get jobs — to stay in Mexico.

    Migrants returned to Mexico are in an especially vulnerable position, said Dirvin Garcia, a coordinator with the state of Chihuahua’s Consejo Estatal de Poblacion.

    “They only arrive with a paper with their court day,” he said.

    Claims of fear of returning to Mexico

    In their first hearings, many of the immigrants expressed fear about returning to Mexico. Several of them told the court on April 17 that they were afraid of being identified by gangs, having their children kidnapped, and finding a place to stay if they had to wait in Mexico.

    Others said they had already been told there wouldn't be room for them at Juárez shelters when they return.

    Migrants in court told Herbert that they have contracted illnesses while at the shelters and that they have very limited access to telephones or Internet that would allow them to reach family or attorneys who can help them.


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  2. #2
    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Send them back and hear the case via Skype. "There is so much poverty" is not asylum. Get on birth control, it is cheap in their country.

    We have our own homeless and poverty here!


    stoptheinvaders likes this.


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