Things That Matter

The US Is Sending Migrants To The Same Mexican Cities It Advises Its Own Citizens To Avoid Due To Unprecedented Violence

Cartel violence and gun battles have killed at least three people this week in the Mexican border city Nuevo Laredo. Now, the United States consulate has issued a security alert, warning employees to take extra precautions as more violence looms. 

While government employees can expect some protections, asylum-seeking migrants who were sent to the region under the Migrant Protections Protocol (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, have not been extended such kindness. 

Under MPP, migrants who want to apply for asylum in the United States must await their hearings and cases in Mexico. According to Reuters, President Donald Trump has expressed an urge to designate cartels as terrorist organizations due to increasing cruelties. In November, cartels murdered three women and six children with dual U.S.-Mexican citizenship.

U.S. Consulate in Nuevo Laredo issues statement on Twitter. 

“SECURITY ALERT: The Consulate has received reports of multiple gunfights throughout the city of Nuevo Laredo. U.S. government personnel are advised to shelter in place,” the tweet read.

The consulate advised employees to take shelter and notify others of their whereabouts. Today, Twitter users in the region reported hearing gunfire and attacks in Nuevo Laredo. Francisco Cabeza de Vaca, the governor of Tamaulipas, the state where Nuevo Laredo is located, said he held the cartel responsible in a series of tweets. 

THERE IS NO TRUCE AGAINST THE VIOLENT – Following the attacks on the State Police of #Tamaulipas by the CDN (Cartel del Norte), Governor @fgcabezadevaca endorses his commitment to safeguarding peace and the rule of law using all the force of the state,” Cabeza de Vaca said according to a tweet translated by the Yucatan Times

Migrants in Nuevo Laredo have become easy targets of the cartel. 

Violence and targeted attacks of migrants have occurred in the region since the summer. According to CBS, as of October, over 51,000 asylum seekers have been sent to Mexico under MPP. In August, NPR reported that around 4,500 had been sent to Nuevo Laredo nicknamed los caminos de carteles. 

The area is essentially a smuggling route for cartels and now it is where vulnerable migrants are dropped off. Asylum-seekers are left to fend for themselves in one of six available shelters in the dangerous city as they await court dates in the U.S. up to four months away. 

“Nuevo Laredo is more dangerous than San Pedro Sula, Honduras,” Cesar Antunes, a migrant dumped in the area told NPR, “which is where I fled from.”

The cartel is able to run without impunity. Violence breaks out and ordinary civilians are the collateral. Sometimes they are targets of kidnapping and extortion plots. Mexico’s National Immigration Institute provides migrants with free bus trips to safer areas like Monterrey and Tapachula. However, these bus trips have become cartel targets too. 

According to NPR, in one incident cartel members hijacked a bus and kidnapped a dozen migrants then drove off. Cesar Antunes was on the bus. 

“In this area right here this is safety for them, but if you just walk out that door it is not safe, that the cartels come by to pick them up to kidnap them,” Marvin Torres, a migrant living at a Nuevo Laredo shelter, told CBS.

Despite numerous incidents of extortion, violence, and kidnapping U.S. Customs and Border Protection says they had no idea migrants are targets of the cartel. 

Acting Commissioner of CBP Mark Morgan told NPR in August that MPP was a “game-changer” because it reduced the number of migrants in CBP custody. When asked about the violence against migrants MPP has caused, Morgan feigned ignorance.

“I haven’t heard anything like that,” Morgan said. “Not with respect to the MPP program. We have received no reports of kidnappings and extortion of migrants. Those are just rumors. You can’t believe everything those people say.”

Perhaps, Morgan is the one spreading conspiracy theories. Liceth Morales and her 6-year-old son were kidnapped for three weeks by the cartel, forcing her family in Texas to pay $8,000 in ransom money to free her. 

“When they released us, we immediately crossed the bridge to the U.S. to ask for asylum,” she says. “But they sent me right back over here.”

Morales decided to just go back home to Choluteca where her small store had been repeatedly robbed. Compared to waiting in Nuevo Laredo for two months, it was the safer alternative. The result of MPP is that many migrants have decided to just go back home. Many migrant advocates feel that the Mexican government has made Nuevo Laredo the home of Central American asylum-seekers because the Mexican government never wanted them there in the first place. 

“[It] is the perfect excuse to get rid of them because the government doesn’t want them here,” Father Julio Lopez, director of the Nazareth Migrant House, told NPR. 

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10-Year-Old Boy Found Crying Alone Near Border Had Been Deported And Kidnapped With His Mom

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10-Year-Old Boy Found Crying Alone Near Border Had Been Deported And Kidnapped With His Mom

John Moore/Getty Images

Anyone who has watched this video of a 10-year-old boy asking a Border Patrol officer for help through tears, can admit just how heartbreaking it is. The boy says he was left alone while traveling with a group across the border when they abandoned him.

But now his family is speaking out and sharing the backstory to the emotional video that further highlights just how urgently the crisis at the border needs to be addressed.

Video of a 10-year-old boy wandering near the border quickly went viral for how heartbreaking it was.

A heartbreaking video shared last week by Customs and Border Protection of an unnamed 10-year-old boy found wandering alone in Texas underscored how desperate the situation is on the southern border. The video showed a young Nicaraguan boy found on the side of a dirt road by an off-duty Border Patrol agent after wandering alone for four hours in the desert.

People reports that U.S. Customs and Border Protection released footage of the incident, which happened on April 1 by a Rio Grande border patrol agent. The boy explains to the officer that he woke up and discovered that his group had left him behind. “I came looking because I didn’t know where to go, and they can also rob or kidnap me or something,” he told the officer. 

In a statement to the publication, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the agent “transported the child to a Border Patrol facility where he was fed and medically screened.”

But now we’re getting a better understanding of what led to this heartbreaking video.

Now, the boy’s family have described his plight to the Washington Post. Little 10-year-old Wilton Obregon and his mom crossed the border into Texas last month but were expelled under Title 42, a policy that releases migrants back to Mexico without letting them seek asylum.

Hours after they were sent back, they were kidnapped, according to Wilton’s Miami-based uncle, Misael Obregon. The kidnappers called him and demanded a $10,000 ransom but Misael could only pay $5,000 so the kidnappers only released Wilton. They dumped Wilton back at the border. Obregon said his sister is still in custody of the kidnappers. “Now I’m worried that she’s going to die,” he said.

In fact, the boys mom called Misael Obregon on Friday morning, crying after seeing the video of her son crying at the border.

The family’s plight highlights the need for reforms to Title 42.

During the campaign, President Biden complained about the humanitarian consequences of the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, which forced asylum seekers to wait for the their court hearings in Mexico. Many were forced to wait in dangerous refugee camps along the border that subjected them to human trafficking, violence, and sexual assault.

Under Title 42, though, which began under President Donald Trump and continues under Biden, asylum seekers are again in the same desperate situation. It’s unclear how many of them have been kidnapped.

“The Biden administration is winding down one of the Trump administration’s most notorious policies but at the same time it is expelling other asylum seekers back to the very same dangers, attacks and kidnappings through its continued use of the Trump administration’s Title 42 policy to evade U.S. refugee law,” Eleanor Acer, senior director of refugee protection at Human Rights First, said in a statement.

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Ted Cruz is Roasted On Twitter After Posting Bizarre Video Saying He Was ‘Heckled’ at the Border By Cartel Members

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Ted Cruz is Roasted On Twitter After Posting Bizarre Video Saying He Was ‘Heckled’ at the Border By Cartel Members

Photo via Twitter

Ted Cruz is, once again, in the headlines. The Texas senator took a break from feuding with celebrities on Twitter to take another trip to Mexico. But this time around, Rafael Cruz wasn’t fleeing his state for a quick Cancun getaway.

This past weekend, Senator Cruz took a trip to the U.S./Mexico border along with 18 other Republican senators. Their mission, ostensibly, was to shine a light on what they deem to be a “border crisis”.

Instead, what ended up grabbing headlines was Ted Cruz’s bizarre documentary-style video of the trip that he released on Twitter.

Surrounded by tall grass, Ted Cruz addresses the camera in hushed tones, much like he was hosting a nature documentary. “So it’s past midnight. I’m standing on the shore of the Rio Grande. I’m down at the Texas border along with 18 senators who made the trip to see the crisis that is playing out.”

In the grainy video, he continues: “On the other side of the river we have been listening to and seeing cartel members – human traffickers – right on the other side of the river waving flashlights, yelling and taunting Americans, taunting the border patrol.”

Later, Ted Cruz also visited a migrant shelter and attempted to film the migrants for his social media posts.

A worker intercepted Senator Cruz and repeatedly asked him to respect the migrants and stop filming. “Please respect the rules sir, and give the people dignity and respect,” says the woman. “Full heartedly I ask you, please respect the people. This is not a zoo, sir, please don’t treat the people as such.”

Indignant, Sen. Cruz refused to comply. “You were instructed to ask us to not have any pictures taken here, because the political leadership at DHS does not want the American people to know,” he responds.

Despite Rafael Cruz‘s goal of bringing attention to what’s happening at the border, his nature documentary ended up being what really captured the internet’s attention.

As is usual with Rafael Cruz, the internet couldn’t help but see his Crocodile Dundee-style documentary as the ploy that it was. And because Rafael is so easy to drag, that’s exactly what the internet did.

Mainly, Twitter mocked Ted Cruz for the irony of him being in Mexico when he was just there weeks ago under very, very different circumstances.

The jokes kept coming…

And coming…

And coming.

The bottom line is, Ted Cruz never publicly cared about the huminitatirna crisis of border camps (which, by the way, are problematic) when Trump was president.

But now, Ted Cruz is using the increased migrant numbers as an opportunity to virtue signal and fan the flames of fear among Americans. As Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar said, Cruz’s Rio Grande trip was “political theater”.

“These are people who are about to engage in political theater, use the border as a prop, [and] do a whole lot of complaining and finger-pointing,” she said in a recent podcast interview. “But these are the same people who’ve been in the Senate for a number of years.”

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