Things That Matter

Migrant Families Are Still Being Ripped Apart At The Border As Parents Are Sent Back To Wait In Mexico

The end of year holidays are generally a joyous time to spend with your loved ones. In some cases, they are the perfect push one needs to reconnect with a estranged relative or friend. It is a time to be together, hold your little mijos or sobrinos tight and perhaps spend one last New Year’s with an old abuelita who might not be here next time around. However, for many migrant and asylum-seeking families who fail in their attempt to enter the United States this is not an option. 

Family separation at the border has been a very contentious issue during the Trump administration, as opponents to this measure say that it is simply wrong and inhumane, while supporters provide the simplistic assumption that detained migrants get what they deserve because no one asked them to try to enter the United States. Legal battles have been waged and pundits on both sides of the immigration debate have taken their gloves off. Now a recent investigation has revealed that misinformation has effectively altered the lives of migrants, for the worse. 

The investigation revealed that bad info has led migrants to nightmarish situation in which parents and children are separated.

Credit: Manuel Ortega-Ruiz / Getty

Adolfo Flores over at BuzzFeed went to the border town of Reynosa, Tamaulipas, in Mexico to inteview asylum seekers who had been separated from their families. As he interviewed them a constant theme emerged: bad information is leading the authorities to take kids off their parents, who are then sent to Mexico even if they originally come from thousands of miles south in Central America.

Such is the case of one Miguel, and Honduran asylum-seeker whose son Francisco was taken by Border Patrol in August. Francisco was only 12-years-old. Miguel hasn’t seen him since then and the only thing he was told by an agent was “Your son can’t go where we’re taking you. We’re taking him to a safe place”. Can you imagine the pain this causes? We simply cannot.

Parents are being sent to Mexico to wait until their cases in the US are resolved: 60,000 have been sent south of the border during the Trump administration.

Credit: Denver Journal of International Law & Policy

Talk about a state of cruel purgatory. As reported by Flores, Miguel and Francisco “are now caught in the middle of the government’s continued separation of families at the border and a Trump administration policy, known as Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), that has sent thousands of immigrants to wait in Mexico while their US cases are completed”. This is simply inhumane. The Mexican government of course shares some responsibility as the Lopez Obrador administration has been extra accommodating to Trump’s demands much to the disdain of human rights activists… and pretty much any human with a heart and a little bit of compassion in their veins. 

Once in Mexico, often in unsafe and unfamiliar locations such as Reynosa, parents try to find legal help to get their children back.

Miguel believes that his case is mired with misinformation and that this complicates his prospects. He is waiting in the city of Reynosa, perhaps one of the most dangerous in Mexico. In Reynosa and other border cities, an emerging legal industry is aiding migrants. However, it is possible that lawyers are also taking advantage of them. Added to this, the population is developing a xenophobia against Central American migrants as the number of asylum seekers sent to Mexico rises.

As reported by Flores, cases like Miguel’s highlight how this policies “sometimes based on incomplete or misleading information, leaves an unknown number of desperate parents and guardians at a loss to know how to get their children back while holed up in dangerous locations in Mexico”. Just close your eyes and try to imagine the desperation and utter despair of now knowing where your children or siblings are, if they are sick, if they are eating. 

Many of the stories are heartbreaking.

Credit: Daniel Noriega / Slate

Many of the cases need to be read to be believed. As reported by Flores: “A complaint filed by the Women’s Refugee Commission in August with two DHS watchdog agencies detailed 20 cases where families were separated by CBP at the border and at least some members were sent back to Mexico under MPP.”

There is a Guatemalan man who speaks almost no Spanish and whose son was taken by Border Patrol solely based on the belief that the birth certificate was fake. A Salvadorian young woman who had been taking care of her siblings after their mother was murdered was separated from them even if custody had been granted in El Salvador. And the list goes on and on. 

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It’s Like “A War Zone” At The Border Wall As Injured Migrants Are Being Sent Back Without Medical Treatment

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It’s Like “A War Zone” At The Border Wall As Injured Migrants Are Being Sent Back Without Medical Treatment

For years we’ve heard of horrific stories from the U.S.-Mexico border, and things only seemed to get worse under the Trump administration’s cruel and inhumane policies.

Now, with new segments of border wall finished – including 15-feet-tall segments with barbed wire – many people who attempt to cross the border wall are falling victim to severe injuries as they fall to the ground or are torn up by razor wire. Although many are falling into the U.S. side of the border, where they should be receiving medical care once apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol, many are being immediately returned to Mexico.

U.S. Border Patrol is returning severely injured migrants to Mexico without medical care.

Donald Trump’s “big, beautiful wall,” which has torn apart communities along the border region and done nothing to curb migrants and refugees from attempting to reach the U.S., is leading to crippling injuries to people attempting to cross the border amid worsening situations in their home countries.

According to one Texas pastor, Rosalio Sosa, who runs a network of migrant shelters known as Red de Albergues Para Migrantes (RAM), told Dallas News a shelter in Palomas gets about seven injured migrants per week and the situation there looks like that of a “war zone,” with the number of injured piling up.

“This has become a war zone, with war injuries and no resources,” he said. “But governments need to know that deserts, rivers, walls are no match for hunger.”

According to Sosa, Border Patrol routinely sends migrants to Palomas with a range of injuries from minor to serious including those who have fallen off the Border Wall. 

“They just pick them up and send them over here. No wheelchair, nothing. Not even a Tylenol,” Sosa said.  The shelter works to get the men medical care in Mexico.

Many migrants confirm what the pastor is alleging, saying they’re being dumped like garbage.

Many of those who have attempted to enter the U.S. are fleeing political unrest and economic uncertainty amid the Covid-19 pandemic. They allege that they are being “dumped” back in “Mexico like garbage” without any help or medical aide from Border Patrol.

Pedro Gomez, who attempted to flee Guatemala in January, said his ankles were broken after falling from the wall and he had to crawl to the US border agent’s vehicle.

“I couldn’t even get up, so I crawled inside the migra [US Border patrol] vehicle”, Mr. Gomez said, adding: “they dumped us in Mexico like garbage, a piece of trash. They said ‘stand up, stand up.’ I don’t know where I found the strength.”

For their part, the Border Patrol denies any allegations of mistreatment.

The U.S. Border Patrol has routinely denied any wrongdoing. In fact, in response to multiple allegations from the pastor and several migrants who claim mistreatment, the agency released a statement rejecting the claims. It said the agents regularly encountered injured migrants and administered medical aid to those hurt.

“We routinely encounter injured people on the border, most of which are individuals that have entered the country illegally. When it is apparent that someone is hurt we will administer first aid and request assistance as needed,” El Paso sector border patrol chief, Gloria Chavez, said in the statement.

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Honduran Woman Gave Birth On Bridge Between U.S. And Mexico Border But What Will Happen To Them Next?

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Honduran Woman Gave Birth On Bridge Between U.S. And Mexico Border But What Will Happen To Them Next?

As the number of parents and children crossing the border continues to increase, driven by violence and poverty in Central America, many are growing desperate while being forced to wait in migrant camps in Mexico. While crossings have not reached the levels seen in previous years, facilities that hold migrants are approaching capacity, which has been reduced because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This is forcing many to check the status of their claims by crossing into the U.S. to speak to border agents. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that more and more women are being forced to give birth in less than ideal situations – putting at risk both the lives of the mother and child.

A migrant woman gave birth on a bridge between U.S.-Mexico border.

According to Mexican border authorities, a Honduran woman gave birth on the Mexican side of the border bridge between Matamoros, Mexico and Brownsville, Texas. The woman was apparently trying to reach the U.S. side, but felt unsteady when she got there and was helped by pedestrians on the Mexican side waiting to cross.

Mexico’s National Immigration Institute said the birth occurred Saturday afternoon on the Ignacio Zaragoza border bridge, also known as “Los Tomates.” It said authorities received an alert from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials regarding “a woman trying to enter the country improperly.”

It said the woman was taken to a hospital in Matamoros, where she was given free care. Her child will have the right to Mexican citizenship.

Hernández is hardly the first woman to give birth while hoping to cross into the U.S.

Just last month, a woman gave birth along the U.S. side of the Rio Grande. She had just crossed the river and her smugglers were yelling at her to keep moving as U.S. Border Patrol agents arrived. But she couldn’t continue, fell to the ground, and began to give birth.

The mother and her her daughter are safe and in good health. “They treated me well, thank God,” said the woman, who didn’t want her name used because she fears retribution if she’s forced to leave the country, in an interview with ABC News.

“There’s so many women in great danger,” Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, told ABC News. “They must really think before they do what they do and risk the life of their unborn child.”

Like so many other women, Hernández was waiting in Mexico under Trump’s cruel immigration policies.

Hernández was reportedly among about 800 migrants sheltering in an improvised riverside camp while awaiting U.S. hearings on their claims for asylum or visas. Other migrants are waiting in Matamoros, but have rented rooms.

Thousands of other migrants are waiting in other Mexican border cities for a chance to enter the U.S. — some for years. The Trump administration has turned away tens of thousands at legal border crossings, first citing a shortage of space and then telling people to wait for court dates under its “Remain in Mexico” policy.

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