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On the eve of the reopening of the USA, migrants return to the border – 11/07/2021 – World

Encouraged by news that the United States and Mexico will reopen their land borders, hundreds of migrants have arrived in neighboring cities like Tijuana, hoping to make the crossing and seek asylum in the United States.

As of this Monday (8), the border of about 3,200 km will be reopened for non-essential travel, for vaccinated people, after a 20-month closure with the objective of containing the dissemination of the coronavirus. The two countries were successful in reducing the number of new infections and vaccinating communities located on the border.

The situation could increase pressure on Washington to tighten its border enforcement policy after the number of migrants, including those from Central America and the Caribbean, became a challenge for US President Joe Biden.

“I’ll try. We want to get across the border. I can’t stay in Mexico anymore. There’s a lot of violence here,” said Andrea Morales, who left Guatemala and has lived for a month in a makeshift camp near the border crossing in El Chaparral, in Tijuana.

Out there

“Four days ago, the government cut our electricity and surrounded us with fences like animals. I have faith in God that I can cross over and give my children a better life,” Morales said, as he nursed his baby amidst dozens of stalls.

Mexican authorities clashed with migrants last week when security forces threw away tents and other belongings during an operation to estimate the number of people at the camp in Tijuana.

Migration activists say many people have been misled about what the reopening of the border means to their expectations of getting asylum.

“There is a lot of misinformation. We explained to them that the reopening of the border is for people who have documents, visas, not for people to cross and ask for asylum and humanitarian aid,” said José Garcia, head of the Movimiento Juventud 2000 shelter in Tijuana.

“They don’t listen to us and they don’t want to wait,” he says, adding that the number of people at the shelter has increased by about a third since the announcement of the reopening in mid-October.

Furthermore, migrants from Mexico are also arriving. Many people in Tijuana say they are fleeing violence in Mexican states like Michoacan and Guerrero.

In 2020, 9,700 Mexicans were displaced because of the violence, a jump of more than a third from the previous year, according to the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Center.

The pandemic, along with an increase in US asylum requests, has caused thousands of migrants to spend months in Mexico waiting for an answer to their requests or even just a chance to fill them.

“I never left with the intention of staying in Mexico. It’s like Honduras,” said Augusto Martinez, who arrived in Tijuana three weeks ago with his wife and five children. “We’re really going to try to cross.”

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