Migrants rush to cross into the United States and transform Brownsville, Texas into a commuter town


At night, on the asphalt of Brownsville, Texas, migrants look for a comfortable place to spend the night. They have crossed the border from Mexico, ahead of an announced change in US regulations that could complicate those who come after.

“We were very afraid because they say that after May 11, they will not let you through,” explains Dasling Sánchez, a 28-year-old Venezuelan. “We launched first because we did not have the financial resources to stay” in Mexico and “for fear of being deported.”

She waited for several days in Matamoros, Mexico, for her opportunity. She now rests on some cardboard with her two children next to a gas station in Brownsville, a quiet border city that has recently been swarmed with hundreds of migrants.

This Thursday, the United States is scheduled to end Title 42, a measure inherited from the Trump era that, since the pandemic, has allowed authorities to deport or reject migrants without even accepting their asylum claims.

Although its repeal raises fears of an increase in irregular entry through the southern United States, there are those who think that it could rather complicate it.

For now, hundreds of people are brought in buses daily to Brownsville, after having turned themselves in days before to the border patrol, which held them and processed them in a detention center.

After receiving an average of 100 migrants a day since the beginning of the year, in the last two weeks “the numbers are regularly between 700 and 1,000 people a day,” says Mayra Paredes, a volunteer with the Team Brownsville humanitarian organization, which supports them with clothing and food.

They walk in groups and on foot in a city where most use cars and, although many are from Venezuela, there are also Colombians, Central Americans, and Asians. A similar scenario is experienced in cities like El Paso.

Eagle Pass, further north, is mostly taken by women who then go to Brownsville to reunite with their family.

Some say they proved they had a US-resident “sponsor” to enter. Others say that they entered while their asylum application is being reviewed by a judge.

Still aimlessly or while waiting for a relative, dozens spend the night around the La Plaza bus station, in the center of the city. The shelters are not enough.

And after having defeated the jungle and crime during his pilgrimage through at least half a dozen Latin American countries, the dangers continue on US soil.

On Sunday eight people, most of them migrants, died after being hit by a vehicle near a shelter. One of the survivors said that, before hitting them, the driver insulted them, although the police are investigating whether it was intentional.

Several migrants believe that Title 42 was not so harmful because, under its protection, what the border authorities did was expel them back to Mexico, from where they could try to cross multiple times.

On the other hand, Title 8 remains in force, a measure that, although it allows processing asylum applications, also accelerates expulsions, deports, or prevents future entry of someone who first tried to enter illegally.

“Yes, it scared me a little because when Title 42 was over, they already make you a direct deportation, and you launched all that journey, you sold all your things, you are left with nothing. That scared me,” says Venezuelan Leandro Ruiz, 28.

While Leandro waits for his wife to be released, Dasling waits for one of his brothers who lives in Los Angeles to deposit the money to buy the tickets that will allow them to meet again.

While waiting, he and his two children eat some pizza that a Catholic organization brought them.

The Secretary of National Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, who recently toured several points along the border, admitted the difficult circumstances.

The government of Democrat Joe Biden, whom Republicans blame for being lax with immigration, will send 1,500 soldiers to the border for control work.

Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas and a Biden critic, has said 150,000 troops are needed. He often sends migrant buses to states run by Democrats.

Speaking on WhatsApp before going to sleep, José Luis Aular, a 38-year-old Venezuelan, says that “migration always exist Whatever you put on it, obstacles, whatever you put on it (…) it will always be there”.

Meanwhile, even though tonight he will rest next to the stairs of a parking lot, his compatriot Luis Ibañez, 23, has clear goals for him. “We come to work, not to be a burden on the United States.”

Source: Prensa Libre