Inside border encampments where migrants await their chance to enter the United States
No, waiting for them is tenuous and stressful. And it’s often dangerous too.
We drove through the town of Matamoros, which is across the border from Brownsville here. And as soon as we crossed the bridge, we were greeted by a huge crowd of people who basically gathered at the foot of this bridge every morning, trying to get these questions answered.
There are immigration groups. There are groups of refugees there. And, more importantly, there are pro bono American lawyers, immigration lawyers, who walk across the bridge every day and try to get some of these migrants to answer their questions.
There is a lot of confusion about what exactly the rules are, in terms of who is allowed to enter the United States and, Geoff, specifically, questions about this CBP One application. This is an application created by Customs and Border Protection in which migrants are invited to make an appointment and then present themselves and submit their asylum application.
These appointments are highly coveted. They are very limited. And the supply is far from meeting the demand. We actually spoke to a gentleman named Carlos who is from Honduras. He pulled out his phone in frustration to show me how many times he’s logged into the app, applied, tried to do things the legal way, and he still hasn’t gotten an appointment. .
He’s been doing this every day for three months. More — the people we talk to here are basically saying that the longer migrants are forced to wait, the more vulnerable they become. There are already rampant reports of extortion, kidnapping and sexual assault.
We spoke to a woman named Duglias (ph) from Venezuela. She is here with her two teenage daughters. She does not even take them to sleep in the nearby migrant camp because she is so afraid that they will be assaulted. So, Geoff, every night for a month, they’ve been coming here. They slept outside at the bus station.
And she has no idea when they will be allowed to present their case to US officials – Geoff.