• Christine Mann

Laredo

I’m here volunteering at an immigrant clinic and shelter that was set up ad hoc by the local Catholic Church under the auspices of Catholic Charities. They have taken in almost 20,000 people since May.


They were able to convince CBP to bring migrants to the shelter instead of just dropping them at the bus station, which is what they were doing: dropping them off with no money, food, water, phone. The church heard about it and convinced CBP to bring them here.


At this facility, they were given showers, shelter, food, and the ability to call their sponsors in the US to make a plan to travel to them. Human things, ya’ know? CBP dropped anywhere from 0-200 a day. The facility would have no advance notice about who or how many were coming.


But they waited and welcomed everyone who arrived, and helped them on their way. There’s an amazing group of people here, and I will be sharing their stories soon. But here’s the latest, the part I need you to know:


This week, it’s been eerily quiet. 6 on Monday. 2 yesterday. 3 today. Where are all the migrants?


Yesterday, Dr. Claudia Mercado, the local physician who put the clinic together shared photos of migrants walking back into Mexico, as well as photos from the other side of the border of children sleeping on pizza boxes and people seeking shelter under bridges in Mexico.


We believe it is because of the new policy forcing people to await their asylum cases in Mexico. Here’s the problems:


1. These are not Mexican citizens, they come from all over Central America. We are dumping them in a country they do not know with no food, water, money, phone, or shelter. They know NO ONE and are not being taken to shelters. They are walking and ending up in parks and under bridges.


2. They sold everything in their home countries to make this trip. They have no resources at all.


3. The part of Mexico they are being pushed to is very dangerous. This is a major passageway for the drug trade and cartels are everywhere. We are sending vulnerable people with no resources into the hands of these cartels, putting them at risk for rape, torture, and murder.


In addition to this issue, our government is determined to make them as miserable here as possible. The City of Laredo agreed to house migrants on this side of the border in vacant government buildings with air conditioning for $1 for 18 months. The feds said no.


Instead, they are building tent cities. In south Texas. In August. 



So instead of allowing facilities like this charity shelter to take them in, instead of letting them stay in an air conditioned building, they are sending them into the streets of Mexico and into tents.

Update: These tents will be used as courtrooms for migrant asylum hearings instead of using the buildings offered by Laredo. We’re going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to erect these tents instead of using nearly free facilities. Wonder who got the contracts?

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