On July 10, 2021, migrants wait in line for clothes and supplies in a makeshift migrant camp in the border town of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico. PAUL RATJE AFP REYNOSA Migrants across northern Mexico expressed frustration and desperation on Monday after the US government failed to lift a pandemic-era policy that has largely prevented them from seeking asylum in the United States for over two years.
A Louisiana judge said it was impossible for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to end the sweeping policy known as Title 42 because of an eleventh-hour decision by a federal judge on Friday. Title 42 has enabled US agents to quickly turn over a million migrants to Mexico and other countries since March 2020.
Here in Mexico, we don't have anything to eat, we have to go out to the streets to beg, so it's terrible for us that they've extended Title 42, said Honduran migrant Maria Sanchez, who said she has spent more than a year in Mexico with her children.
Sanchez was among over a hundred migrants lined up in sweltering heat outside the Senda de Vida shelter in Reynosa, across from McCallen, Texas. Thousands more were already camped inside the facility's grounds.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants have been waiting for the end of the policy in Mexico, often for months. The vaccines and other tools made it no longer necessary to control the spread of COVID- 19 in crowded border facilities, according to the CDC.
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Hector Silva, the shelter's pastor, said the border is totally saturated.
He estimated that some 6,000 migrant families were living in the violent city, at risk of extortion, kidnapping and sexual violence by gangs and organized crime groups.
In January 2021, US President Joe Biden, a Democrat, promised to change the hardline immigration policies of his Republican predecessor Donald Trump. He has so far struggled to keep promises to change the system.
Aerial view of the Sendero de Vida Path of Life migrant shelter in Reynosa, Tamaulipas state, Mexico, in the border with McAllen, Texas state, US on May 19, 2022. PEDRO PARDO AFP Republicans who want to win control of Congress in November have criticized his border policies as too lenient, pointing out record high migrant crossings, while some of his own party have criticized him for failing to end Trump-era restrictions.
The White House did not respond to requests for comment on the migrants' concerns. The Department of Homeland Security DHS issued a statement on Friday, saying it would comply with the Louisiana court order.
On Sunday night, migrants protested and held a vigil at the base of the international bridge in Tijuana, holding banners reading Defend asylum and No more Title 42. I'm so angry, said Veronica Lopez, who was in the demonstration to protest the US government's policies.
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Lopez fled to her hometown in southwestern Mexico with her daughter this month. She said she had been attacked and raped by her former partner and had been planning to enter the United States on Monday.
She said that God only knows what will happen to me and my daughter.