MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican authorities said on Tuesday they had moved a migrant camp that had sprung up in a park in the border town of Reynosa, moving about 2,000 people from Central America and Haiti to shelter in the town, across the border from McAllen, Texas.
The camp of migrants mainly from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Haiti arose after US officials. citing the pandemic, invoked a health rule that denies migrants the chance to seek asylum.
Mexico’s National Institute of Immigration said the migrants were taken around midnight Monday to the shelter, which it said will have better hygiene and catering services.
But on Monday, residents of another border town, Nuevo Laredo, said hundreds of migrants, mostly Haitians, poured into the town, which is across the border from Laredo, Texas.
The rush apparently started after the United States began processing some asylum seekers there.
The Catholic bishop of Nuevo Laredo said Monday that migrant shelters there were already overcrowded, with some migrants sleeping outside in tents.
Bishop Enrique Sánchez Martínez said migrants began pouring into Nuevo Laredo in late April, although the city is not generally popular among migrants, in part because it is dominated by the violent drug cartel of the Northeast.
“It’s new for us because it’s the last place they come to, because of the conditions in our border, in our city, which are sometimes unfavorable to migrants,” the Bishop said. “But since they opened the door to the United States for asylum applications, many of them have come in large groups.”
Marvin Ajic, director of the Casa Nazareth shelter, said that around April 16, Mexican authorities notified the shelters that the United States would resume processing humanitarian asylum applications.
The United States had begun allowing more people, especially Central American adults, to prepare for the lifting of Title 42 – a pandemic-era health rule that denies migrants the chance to enter states. United to Seek Asylum – May 23. But a federal judge in Louisiana ruled last week that the government could not overturn the rule before the end date.
“The (Mexican) immigration officials arranged things with the shelters, and the plan was to send people who had been waiting for a long time, without any checks, practically anyone,” Ajic said.
This apparently caught the attention of other migrants, including Haitians.
In September, similar rumors sparked a rush of about 15,000 mostly Haitian refugees to the Texas border, where they camped under a bridge. US officials began large-scale deportations of Haitians while allowing thousands to remain in the United States
Ajic warned migrants against coming to the border, noting the risks. On Monday, Mexico’s National Immigration Institute said so far this year it had transported the bodies of 19 immigrants from the Rio Grande, also known as Rio Bravo.