Some Mexican shelters see crowding south of the border as Biden’s asylum ban takes hold


The impact of the Biden administration’s new asylum policy has been uneven, with some shelters south of the US-Mexico border struggling to cope with the increased number of migrants while others report no significant changes.

Shelters in Arizona’s Sonora state are particularly strained, with as many as 500 deportations from the region each day. “We’re having to turn people away because we can’t accommodate all those who need shelter,” said Joanna Williams, executive director of Kino Border Initiative.

In contrast, shelters in Texas and California have plenty of space available. However, Mexican authorities are sweeping up unauthorized migrants and moving them south of the border zone, leading to concerns about the mental health impact on those affected.

The asylum policy change has resulted in an influx of new arrivals at some shelters. For example, San Juan Bosco shelter in Nogales now houses around 120 people, up from 40 before the policy change. Most of these migrants are Mexican, including families and adults.

Mexican authorities have also agreed to accept deportees from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Meanwhile, a shelter in Agua Prieta has begun receiving more Mexican men, women, and children, with numbers ranging from 40 to over 50 people per day.

However, some shelters are yet to see any significant impact. In Tijuana, directors of four large shelters reported no deported migrants since the asylum ban took effect. The uncertainty has caused mental health concerns among those waiting for legal entry through the CBP One app, which grants only 1,450 appointments a day.

The Biden administration has said that thousands have been deported since the policy change but did not provide specific figures. Mexican authorities and non-governmental organizations are working together to support shelters struggling with capacity issues and feeding large numbers of migrants.

Some advocates are concerned about the unintended consequences of exempting unaccompanied children from the asylum ban. “We’re afraid that many mothers will start sending their children alone,” said Isabel Turcios, director of Casa del Migrante Frontera Digna.

Source: AP News