JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – For a third consecutive day, Central and South American migrants showed up by the hundreds at the border wall in El Paso, Texas, hopeful the Biden administration will listen to their pleas for asylum.
Some got off trains south of Juarez, Mexico, on Thursday morning and walked three to four hours until reaching the Rio Grande with their children in tow. Others had been in Juarez for several weeks and – unable to get appointments through the CBP One app – joined the crowd of newcomers heading to the border wall.
“I’ve been (in Juarez) three months. Work ran out and I came here. I hope they let me in, they help me because I came here to work, to look for a better future,” said Edgar Enrique, a Venezuelan in his 20s. He dismissed recent U.S. Customs and Border Protection warnings that foreign nationals entering the country between ports of entry risk swift Title 42 expulsions.
“I’m not thinking they’re going to say no. I am here with a positive (mentality) that they will let us in,” Luis Enrique said. He talked about the need to provide for his parents in a country where inflation and unemployment are soaring. He talked about procuring a better future for his 7-year-old son, Yenderson, who stayed behind in Venezuela.
The multitude walked across the nearly dry Rio Grande in small groups, and with younger migrants helping older ones and mothers with children avoid falling. Then they walked along the river levee long enough to skirt the new barbwire fence being put in place by the Texas National Guard near Gate 36 of the border wall.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is aggressively trying to stem irregular migration at the Texas-Mexico border by deploying the guard to the U.S. levee, having them place temporary barriers on federal land and surging Texas Department of Public Safety troopers to stem migrant smuggling in El Paso.
The migrants and soldiers hardly exchanged glances and they crossed paths. At Gate 36, several Border Patrol vehicles were parked by the wall while agents tried to orderly bring across for processing the hundreds of migrants waiting in line.
In January, the Department of Homeland Security established a remote asylum application process for Venezuelans, Haitians, Cubans and Nicaraguans. That came after numerous releases of foreign nationals from overcrowded immigration processing centers. Citizens of those countries must now apply for asylum using the CBP One app. They risk being expelled and losing immigration benefits if they show up at the border without appointments.
Gerson, another Venezuelan, said he gave up on the CBP app. “Every time I tried it, the page froze. Enough is enough,” the father of three said as he led his family across the Rio Grande on Thursday.
Pablo, also a Venezuelan, said he tried to use CBP One on numerous occasions without success. “I think, with the help of God, I will be able to get to the other side,” said Pablo, who loaded up on soft drinks and over-the-counter food from a Juarez convenience store before heading to the border wall.
The migrants and some Juarez officials say hundreds of new migrants are arriving in this border city every day, many of them on top of trains arriving from Central Mexico. Officials here, as well as across the border in El Paso, are certain the number of arrivals will pick up even more as the stated May 11 end of Title 42 expulsions approaches.
Luis Fabian, a Colombian fleeing crime and paramilitary activity in a rural province, said he wanted to take his family into the U.S. before more people arrive at the border.
He said Mexico is not safe for his family. They were locked up in a detention center in Southern Mexico where the guards were forced to open the gates after a riot. They were bilked out of 500 pesos each ($27) by a Mexican immigration officer promising them humanitarian permits, and they were locked up in a detention facility until Mexican officials emptied the cells following a fatal fire at a different detention center in Juarez.
“We want to live our lives in the United States and ensure a better future for our children,” he said. His daughter, Linda, said she wants to go to school and join the U.S. Army when she graduates.