The Gateway International Bridge at the US-Mexico border was shut down by the authorities on October 10 after hundreds of migrants blocked the crossing. The migrants from Central America, seeking asylum in the US, included women and children. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said that the bridge “was temporarily halted at about 1:30 a.m. after a group of 250-300 migrants without entry documents” gathered at the bridge’s midpoint.
Migrants said that they didn’t want to block the traffic and only wanted the authorities to talk to them. The US authorities opened the bridge, which connects Matamoros and Brownville, as the migrants left after brokering a deal with the local officials. The US officials allow a limited number of asylum-seekers in a day under a policy called ‘metering’. Matamoros Mayor Mario Alberto López tried to convince the migrants to move away from the crossing. After complaints of dirty conditions in Matamoros, he promised the migrants to set up washing facilities and to send cleaning crews.
Carla Moradel, 21-year-old asylum-seeker, said that she has been waiting for two months to get a confirmation from the officials.
“If they had clearly told me, ‘No,’ I would have gone back to Honduras, but I think there is still a chance,” said Moradel.
Another migrant from Nicaragua missed his asylum hearing appointment due to the blockade.
“I understand them, I am one of them,” said 53-year-old Orlando Valerio. “But they can’t block things this way,” the Nicaraguan migrant added.
According to the CBP, the migrants who could not cross the border for the hearings would be given new dates.
In September, US President Donald Trump, who has been tough on asylum-seekers, shared some data on Twitter claiming that the number of undocumented migrants staying in the US is rapidly increasing.
Incredible progress being made at the Southern Border! pic.twitter.com/xcqxKEkfGD— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 10, 2019
CBP, on October 8, said that their officials have barred nearly one million migrants at the southern border in the past year.
(With Inputs from agencies)