JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – Juarez is offering to split the cost of a bus ticket with migrants wishing to leave the border.
The offer is good for those headed home to Central America and others who need a lift to Mexico City, where they can contact their embassies, Juarez’s Human Rights Office said.
“Migrants interested in this process should come to our office at (Juarez) City Hall, where they can get advice and find discounted (bus) fares,” Human Rights Office director Santiago Gonzalez Reyes said.
Juarez last month became a gathering spot for thousands of South and Central American migrants, many of whom crossed the Rio Grande and turned themselves over to U.S. immigration authorities prior to May 11. That’s when Title 42 expulsions ended and were replaced by a lengthier asylum process under Title 8, which can disqualify those found ineligible for refuge from future immigration benefits and can lead to jail time for repeat offenders.
Few migrants could be seen near the Rio Grande on Tuesday. Those hanging out near white canvas tents set up by the city government said they have come too far to turn back.
“The government is giving us 50% and forcing us to pay 50%. Isn’t it better to cross into the United States and be deported home for free?” asked Juan Pablo Estrada, a migrant from Uruguay. “The idea is not to go back. If they (deport) me, I will try again because Uruguayans are very persistent.”
Estrada said he left the South American country because he was a victim of organized crime. “I had a business and (suffered) extortion. I have a son and they threatened to kill him,” Estrada said. “To travel all this way and go back is not an option.”
Juarez officials say they are not forcing anyone to do anything. If the migrants want to remain in Mexico and have requested a humanitarian visa, they can get permits to work in Juarez, Gonzalez said.
(Juarez freelance photojournalist Roberto Delgado contributed to this report.)