Hundreds of migrants tried to force their way into the U.S. at the Paso del Norte international bridge in Ciudad Juárez on Sunday.
According to Camilo Cruz from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) team in Ciudad Juárez, the migrants gathered because there was a “rumor that [U.S. immigration officials] were going to let them pass en masse, especially those that came with children.”
The migrants passed a first check point along the bridge before trying where they then tried to force their way into El Paso, Texas. They shouted “We want to pass!” while running to the center of the bridge, where United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents had erected concrete barriers held together with razor wire in anticipation of “a potential threat of mass entry,” according to a CBP spokesperson.
After clashing with the CBP agents, most migrants withdrew back to Ciudad Juárez, where U.S. officials continued to closely monitor them.
The IOM said that misinformation targeting migrants has led to similar situations in the past. Cruz mentioned a recent rumor in which migrants were told “there were going to be buses from the United States to go to Canada… and when they got there, they told them it was a lie.”
While most news sources estimate that hundreds of migrants tried to cross the border, others, such as EFE news agency, claimed that up to 2,000 migrants were involved in the attempt to forcefully cross the border on Sunday.
Migrants have expressed frustration with the Biden administration’s recent requirement that they secure asylum appointments through the CBP One mobile application. While the platform is meant to streamline the application process, migrants say the app suffers from constant glitches.
“We have looked for an appointment and we have never managed to secure one,” said José Álvarez, a migrant from Venezuela who has been in Ciudad Juárez for over 60 days.
“I think that the United States government causes the application error on purpose so that we can’t enter.”
CBP One also frequently fails to recognize the faces of Black applicants, according to migrant assistance advocates, making it nearly impossible for them to get an appointment. Moreover, families have been forced to separate because of limited appointment slots.
Shelters in the Mexican border city are now at maximum capacity, forcing some to sleep on the streets in freezing temperatures. The region is experiencing record levels of migration, with 2.2 million apprehensions made along the U.S.-Mexico border in U.S. fiscal year 2022.