Hundreds of migrants, especially Haitians, have arrived in recent days in the city of Nuevo Laredo, on the border with Texas and with a high incidence of organized crime, and have placed the shelters in this town in a delicate situation. Mexico who requested help on Monday to serve them.
Since the last week of April, “We have witnessed the arrival of hundreds of migrants in our city,” Enrique Sánchez Martínez, bishop of the diocese of Nuevo Laredo.
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Last year, around 14,000 Haitians arrived at another remote place on the border with Texas, Ciudad Acuña, almost in the blink of an eye, causing a complicated situation in the two neighboring countries.
“For us it is new because here (in Nuevo Laredo) is the last place they arrive due to the circumstances of our border, of our city, which are sometimes adverse for migrants, are difficult for them”, the bishop added. “But since they opened the doors in the United States to receive asylum applications, well, many of them came in large groups.”
Nuevo Laredo It is the fiefdom of the Northeast cartel, a division of the former Zetas and an organized crime group that has one of its main businesses in migrant smuggling. Due to the violence and dangers of the locality, migrants—both those who cross with smugglers and those who do so on their own—often cross at other points.
However, this situation apparently changed in recent days, according to the bishop. The Haitians arrived in “large numbers” and joined asylum seekers who have been waiting up to a year in the city’s shelters to process their cases with US authorities.
Only in the shelter of the Catholic Church, the Casa del Migrante Nazareth, there are about 200 migrants of different nationalities, who are joined by 200 more who come to sleep in the parking lot. Another large number is left out “because they don’t fit,” said Sánchez Martínez. For this reason, a new space with tents is being set up to serve more people, what he has already described as a new “humanitarian crisis.”
In the opinion of the religious, there has been a “pull effect” that has attracted new migrants, especially Haitians, to the city, not because the laws of the United States changed, but because the Customs and Border Protection Office (CBP for its acronym in English ) began to apply in Nuevo Laredo a measure that allows “emergency entry for humanitarian reasons”.
As Marvi Ajic, director of Casa Nazareth, explained to The Associated Press, on Saturday, April 16, in the middle of Holy Week, the Mexican authorities informed them that they would begin to receive asylum seekers who had been stranded in the city for months on a daily basis, a petition that Ajic had done since February before the US consulate.
Ajic explained that they were asked for a migrant list almost in a matter of minutes. “Then (Mexican) Migration organized itself with the shelters and the modality was to send the people who had been waiting for a long time without any filter, whoever it was,” regardless of nationality or situation. Apparently word got out and that’s when Haitians started arriving.
The bishop said that about 100 people passed through Casa Nazareth, but the flow reached 60 a day or more, although now it has been reduced.
Various civil society organizations and even UN agencies have warned on other occasions of how organized crime spreads false information for its own purposes and for migrants to move to one place or another.
Sánchez Martínez did not comment on whether this is what could have happened on this occasion.
The management of asylum seekers by Nuevo Laredo under this modality, it coincided with a crisis on the same border that arose when the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, imposed unusual checks on trucks at various crossings —which temporarily blocked some bridges— with the aim of pressuring the authorities of the Mexican border states to step up their fight against illegal migration.
Abbott, who will seek re-election in November, has made immigration control one of his main slogans.
In addition, all this takes place when the United States plans to eliminate at the end of May the immediate expulsions that were launched at the beginning of the pandemic, in March 2020, something that could encourage the irregular migratory flow and that has also been highly criticized by opponents of the Joe Biden administration.
Under this sanitary measure, tens of thousands of migrants have been returned in these two years, although with the current Biden government, six out of ten foreigners who arrived illegally under other immigration regulations were also processed.