The influx of migrants across the border with Mexico is testing the cities in the United States that are receiving them, which must channel resources to house them once they are released by federal immigration authorities pending their asylum application.
Many of the arrivals have been sent on buses by the authorities of the border states of Arizona and Texas to northern cities, such as New York and Washington DC, as a form of protest against the immigration policy of the Biden Administration.
Many of these migrants, mostly from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, arrive without proper documentation and without guarantees that they will meet the strict legal requirements to qualify for asylum. With no money and nowhere to go to wait for their cases to be answered, they are completely helpless.
“Everything we went through, tears, fighting, sleeping on the ground, rain, everything is for something and I know it will be for something good,” he told the voice of america Venezuelan Yuli Zuleta in a recently opened shelter in the city of El Paso, Texas, to house migrants.
This center will provide shelter, food, medical care, clothing, internet access and advice on immigration procedures and travel plans for migrants.
More than a month ago, the migratory flow began to increase on a large scale in this region of West Texas. Migrants say they avoid the Texas Valley, where the Rio Grande is largest and the current is strongest.
“Venezuelan compatriots crossing the river had their children released, when crossing the current they were taken away and they died,” he told the VOA another migrant, Wendy Coronel.
Tents in New York
In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams predicted the arrival of 75,000 migrants this year and announced the preparation of a hangar with tents to house them. Till the date more than 13,000 have already arrivedmostly from Texas.
Adams said the city has opened 23 emergency shelters and plans to open 38 more, and the Red Cross also recently set up a reception center to help new arrivals settle quickly, processing documents, housing, and providing advice on food and school enrollment with daily appointments.
It has also been thought to house migrants on cruise ships.
“Wherever they put me to sleep, I sleep; since in the jungle one slept in the river and that they put me to sleep in a boat, what can I do, I sleep anywhere as long as I have my family well, ”he expressed to the VOA the Venezuelan Enyerber Liendo.
However, the idea of the tent shelter, located on Orchard Beach in the Bronx, is in a secluded area and has not been well received by activists.
They are concerned that migrants are disconnected from both legal aid and the means to be able to travel and reach their immigration appointments. Also, winter is coming, and living under tents is something they don’t agree with.
“It does not consider the needs of people who are arriving in the city seeking refuge because they would be disconnected, they would not have the same access to services and benefits that can be provided to families, who already arrive vulnerable and in need and require that they be connected to all the other agencies and the resources that the city can provide them,” he explained to the VOA Anthony Posada, attorney for the Legal Aid Society.
However, New York officials say these facilities will be heated and will only house the migrants for four days while they are processed for transfer to other shelters.
* With the collaboration of Waldo Serrano, VOA journalist, from Miami.
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