As local authorities on the Texas-Mexico border scramble to accommodate thousands of recent migrants from Central America and beyond, they brace for the United States to expand its “stay in Mexico” policy, which which could send many more people across the border to wait while their asylum claims are processed.
The new policy, which is already in effect at the Tijuana-San Diego border, has officials in the Mexican state of Chihuahua worried that they may not be able to handle the waves of migrants to come. Since the end of October 2018, more than 8,000 migrants have arrived in Juarez, many of them from Central America, Cuba, Russia and countries in Africa, including Angola and Cameroon.
“We do not agree with this program. Without it, we have enough problems,” said Ramon Galindo, undersecretary of social development for the northern region of Chihuahua. “If they use Mexico as a hotel for migrants, it’s going to create a bigger problem than what we have now.”
Galindo was one of several state and local leaders who met Friday with Customs and Border Protection and other U.S. immigration officials at the Mexican consulate in El Paso about the policy.
Over the past few weeks, officials have attended meetings like these while maintaining a local sports arena turned into a safe haven for hundreds of migrants waiting to seek asylum in the United States.