Joe Biden gave his blessing via executive action and now asylum-seekers in the Remain in Mexico initiative are crossing the Gateway International Bridge from Mexico into the United States. Migrants in a refugee camp in Matamoros entered the U.S. at Brownsville, Texas. Over 1,000 migrants live at the encampment and the first group allowed entrance consisted of 25 of them. The camp is just blocks from the Bridge.
In the video, you can see that the migrants are being escorted by people wearing vests identifying themselves as members of organizations that promote migrant resettlement programs, like the U.N. The migrants are also being protected by armed security guards as they cross.
Officials with the United Nations were screening all applicants for COVID-19 and sorting those who have lived on the camp the longest to be among the first to cross.
DHS officials said priority would be given to those who have had pending immigration cases the longest.
Some have lived at the camp since July 2019 when the Trump administration implemented the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program, known unofficially as the “Remain in Mexico” program, which forced them to wait in Mexico during their asylum proceedings., according to Borderreport.com.
Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley volunteers are putting them on buses to travel to wherever they are going. As I have written about numerous times, illegal migrants seeking asylum, as they have been taught to do by the open borders supporters, are dropped off at bus stations in border towns to travel further north to await their asylum hearings. First, they rode to a staging area in downtown Brownsville. Other groups of volunteers are providing clothing, snacks, and other necessities for travel such as backpacks filled with food and toys for children.
The migrants were processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials on the U.S. side and about 45 minutes later, a double-decker charter bus with Sister Norma Pimentel, of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley standing at the front, drove the migrants a few blocks to the downtown bus station.
The migrants came off the bus smiling and some crying and raising their hands to the sky and thanking God for the opportunity to be in the United States.
“Liberty, liberty!” exclaimed 62-year-old Ornelia Alonso of Cuba as she stepped off the charter bus to join the other migrants outside a staging area at the downtown Brownsville bus station. “In the conditions we were living in, we couldn’t cross or do anything. We were stuck in MPP … I am very happy to be here.”
All of the migrants are granted permission to travel north of the checkpoint and are being released by Homeland Security officials with a Notice to Appear, which means they promise to appear in any and all upcoming immigration hearings wherever they are living.
Expectations are that larger groups will be allowed to cross the border in the coming days. On Friday a group of 100 crossed from Juarez into El Paso. The United Nations estimates that 750 migrants from the camp are eligible to cross into the United States because they have active immigration cases and have met all U.S. requirements. They must test negative for COVID to be allowed to enter the United States. Immigration lawyer Jodi Goodwin spoke to the media at the Bridge.
Goodwin told a throng of media waiting at the Gateway International Bridge that this is one of the first times the United Nations has had to intervene in order to help asylum-seekers enter the United States.
“The nightmare is over,” immigration lawyer Laura Pena said.
She and Goodwin were part of the Welcoming Committee of the Rio Grande Valley who wore blue T-shirts that read in Spanish “El Comite de Bienvenidos” and helped to ensure all legal paperwork was in order with the migrants.
A Mexican government source told Reuters the goal was for 500 migrants in the Matamoros camp to enter the United States by the end of this week. Tents are springing up near the El Chaparral port of entry, across from San Diego, California by migrants in anticipation of being let in soon. About fifty tents have been put up there in recent days.
It should be noted that when Biden signed the executive action to dismantle Trump’s Remain in Mexico program during his first day in office, he had no plan to replace it. He still doesn’t. Biden’s new policy is expected to be officially rolled out in the coming weeks. He has tasked the Department of Homeland Security with designing a plan to replace the Remain in Mexico program. In his petty, partisan way, Biden was simply in a rush to prove he is the anti-Trump president and is working as quickly as possible to undo as many of Trump’s policies as possible – whatever the cost to border security.