Sunday, March 1, 2020

The Border Crisis Continues, Only Now Migrants Wait 2,000 Miles South

The border crisis hasn’t ended; it just moved 2,000 miles south.
During a visit to Tapachula, in southern Mexico, we found the small city coping with the kind of overcrowded detention centers, dangerous crossings and police actions associated with the U.S.-Mexico border. Shortly after we left, Mexican authorities rounded up and deported hundreds of people in brutal scenes that echoed the anguish on the Rio Grande in recent years.
“We’ve been locked up here for hours,” said one Honduran woman on a recording sent to us from a makeshift dormitory in what our source told us was a Tapachula immigrant shelter. “They say that buses are coming to take us to Tabasco, but there’s been nothing so far.”
More than 2,000 people from the same caravan that came north together were eventually deported, many in flights from Tabasco to Honduras, according to a press release from the Mexican immigration service.
The number of immigrants showing up at the U.S. border has fallen by tens of thousands in recent months, but that’s partly because Mexican authorities are now doing the work for Trump administration has pressed it to do. Threatened with U.S. tariffs in the late spring of 2019, Mexico agreed to increase deportations, and detentions, and to slow the distribution of transit visas. 
In early January, Tapachula felt like a giant waiting room. Everywhere we went, we recognized immigrants by the plastic folders they use to carry their paperwork. They waited on park benches around the central square, they waited in the hallways of boardinghouses, they waited in long lines outside the detention center and even longer lines outside the refugee office. They waited for their number to come up, waited for the situation at the U.S. border to change, waited for the U.S. presidential election.
One baking-hot afternoon, hundreds of people queued outside the main Tapachula immigration office, some seated with their backs against the center’s wall, most standing in the shade, all facing the barricades at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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