Report: Asylum seekers resort to illegal crossings after being unable to lodge claims at ports of entry
Mexican media document groups of Haitians and Central Americans fording the Rio Grande and heading for border patrol on the US side
EL PASO, Texas (Border report) – Unable to apply for asylum at American entry points, Haitian and Central American migrants ford the Rio Grande and surrender to the border patrol at the border wall, Mexican media report.
A group of 15 Central Americans set out this morning from Chamizal de Juarez Park and made their way to the American side of the river, El Diario reported.
Another group of Haitian migrants, some of whom were carrying young children in their arms, also crossed the river on Monday evening. The newspaper published a photograph of a couple crossing the river wearing winter clothes, backpacks and a child.
The Department of Homeland Security relaunched the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program on Monday to comply with a federal court warrant. Migrants who seek asylum upon arrest and demonstrate credible fear are supposed to be treated and, after a 24-hour period, returned to Mexico to await court dates in the United States.
However, these requests are not yet accepted at U.S. ports of entry.
A KTSM / Border Report film crew on Monday documented several families and individuals from Mexico and Central America with the intention of seeking asylum being turned away by US customs and border protection officers in the middle of the bridge international Paso del Norte.
“The fact that we have video evidence of returned Mexicans and Central Americans being told the border is closed is totally against international law,” said Melissa A. Lopez, executive director of Diocesan Services for Migrants and Refugees in El Paso.
She said it was particularly embarrassing to see Mexican families turned back to the country they were trying to flee and families with young children at risk of falling while crossing the river.
“Seeing photographs of people crossing the river or over the wall shows the desperation people feel in trying to seek asylum in the United States. The fact that people feel they have to risk their lives, health and safety to try to enter the United States illustrates how our immigration system continues to be failing.
DHS sent a statement Monday saying it “is closely coordinating the court-mandated re-execution of the MPP with the government of Mexico to address security concerns and operational constraints.”
DHS says it will not share details on MPP at this time due to operational security.
However, on Tuesday evening, the U.S. Border Patrol sent Border Report a statement indicating that advice on how to apply the MPP is still being evaluated:
“As required by law, the El Paso area will continue to enforce the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s public health order under Title 42 for all non-citizens covered for as long as the Title 42 order. is in effect.
Individuals encountered by border patrol officers in the El Paso area are assessed on a case-by-case basis to determine if they qualify for Title 42 or if they will be placed on another immigration route, including cases asylum.
Most recently, people who are not subject to Title 42 may be placed in the Migrant Protection Protocol, if they are non-Mexicans from Western Hemisphere countries arriving by land. The directions of the El Paso sector regarding the implementation of the MPP and who are eligible for registration is still under evaluation. “
The program began in El Paso on Monday and will expand to other parts of the southwest border. Returns to Mexico will take place at seven ports of entry in San Diego, Calexico, Nogales, El Paso, Eagle Pass, Laredo and Brownsville, the agency said.