US turns away migrants as refugee application frustration grows in Mexico

US turns away migrants as refugee application frustration grows in Mexico

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A large group of Mexican immigrants trying to enter the United States over the weekend were prevented from crossing a bridge from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to El Paso, Texas, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. said the defense spokesman.

The migrants pose a “potential threat of mass entry” and physical barriers were set up at the Paso Del Norte International Bridge Sunday afternoon to limit their entry, spokesman Roger Maier said in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday.

Barricades were also used briefly Sunday afternoon at an El Paso crossing at the Bridge of the Americas and one in Stanton, Maier said.

Video of the scene at the Paso Del Norte Bridge on Sunday showed hundreds of migrants sweeping past Mexican National Guard officers on the Mexican side, some carrying children on their shoulders. Based on their accents, many of them appeared to be Venezuelan.

Migrants “We want to get through!” shouting, they rushed up to the center line of the bridge, where American authorities had erected concrete and plastic barriers strung with accordion wire.

The migrants were stopped by the barrier and stayed on the Mexican side, shouting “Open for us!” to American officers. After a while, the migrants ran back towards the Mexican side.

Traffic resumed in both directions as of Sunday evening, Maier said. It was not yet known what caused the mass crossing attempt. A message seeking comment was left at the El Paso mayor’s office.

The rush on the bridge may have been triggered by false rumors, said Camilo Cruz, who works with the UN migration office in Ciudad Juarez.

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Cruz said that “rumor has it that they are being let through en masse, especially those who came with children.”

Rumors are a recurring problem, Cruz said. About a month ago, messages started circulating “that there would be buses on the US side going to Canada … and when they arrived they were told it was a lie.”

The worst part, Cruz said, is that migrants often leave the shelters they are staying in to take part in such mass crossing attempts, only to find the shelters full when they return.

On Sunday, many of the migrants looked like asylum seekers. A woman at the barricade held out a search warrant. Migrants seeking asylum — the legal immigration route for those fleeing persecution in their own countries — are frustrated by newly imposed restrictions on their appearance at the southwestern border, as are many Venezuelans.

There is frustration with the US government’s CBPOne mobile app for scheduling asylum applications, which has been overloaded since the Biden administration introduced it on January 12. Every day at 6 a.m., new dates are available, but migrants find themselves at a loss. messages.

Also causing frustration is the epidemiological rule, which expired on May 11, denying migrants asylum to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Under the public health rule known as Title 42, Mexico recently began taking back Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans who crossed over.

Additionally, the Biden administration has said it generally denies asylum to migrants who show up at the US southern border without seeking protection in a country they passed through.

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Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed.

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