About 6,000 migrants are stranded in the border city of Ciudad Juárez while waiting to apply for political asylum in the United States.
Chihuahua’s State Population Council (Coespo), which heads the coordination of migrant services in the city, stated that the current wait time to apply for asylum is about 90 days.
The migrant population in Juárez includes people from Cuba, Central America, Mexico, and even Africa.
As of August 13, 5,981 people were on the waiting list administered by Coespo. From this list, migrants are called by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to cross into El Paso, Texas, and apply for asylum with an officer.
Once they have applied, migrants are held for a short time in El Paso before being returned to Ciudad Juárez, where they must wait for their cases to be heard. Wait times can be as long as a year in some cases.
Dirvin García, head of Mexico’s Center for Comprehensive Migrant Services (CAIM), stated that there are already cases with wait times that extend well into 2020.
Since October 27, 2018, 18,166 people have been put on the list to apply for asylum, of which 12,185 have been allowed to cross into the U.S. to make the application.
Of the 67 people who arrived at the CAIM facilities on August 10, one was from Cuba.
“It’s a long time to wait,” he said, “and we’re running out of money.”
He said he had relatives in the United States that were helping him financially, but the wait still wasn’t easy.
“Hopefully they can speed up the process so we can cross,” he added.
Instead of waiting, many migrants opt for crossing the Rio Grande to speed up the process. Once in the United States, they are arrested by the Border Patrol. At that point they can apply for asylum.
On Monday, the Border Patrol began holding interviews with migrants after a 10-day moratorium during which no one on CAIM’s list was called to cross into El Paso.
A similar situation occurred at the end of July, when interviews were suspended for 11 days due to overcrowding at CBP facilities.
Source: Reforma (sp)