El Paso, Texas, Jul 4, 2019 / 03:00 am
A Catholic aid agency in El Paso, Texas, has closed a temporary shelter for migrants and asylum seekers released from federal custody, as more asylum seekers are required to wait in Mexico for court dates, and after concerns have been raised about the detention conditions of would-be migrants in government custody.
Fernando Ceniceros, communications specialist for the Diocese of El Paso, told CNA that changes in border patrol policy have likely led to the decrease in migrants entering the United States at El Paso, but the humanitarian crisis is no less severe- the difference is that many would-be migrants in need of aid are required to remain in Mexico, rather than crossing the border.
"They're not letting them cross over anymore," Ceniceros said. "We think that the decline was the reason we had to shut down [the shelter]."
The Department of Homeland Security announced new Migrant Protection Protocols in January, providing that migrants arriving illegally or without proper documentation "may be returned to Mexico and wait outside of the U.S. for the duration of their immigration proceedings, where Mexico will provide them with all appropriate humanitarian protections for the duration of their stay."