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Reynosa Shelter, Home For Hundreds of Migrants, Saved From Mexican City's Shutdown Order

Mural at Senda de Vida.
Carolina Cuellar
Texas Public Radio
Mural at Senda de Vida.

Three days ago, Reynosa city officials served Senda de Vida a notice to vacate within five days, and the possibility of homelessness loomed over 600 asylum seekers. This week, the shelter was granted an injunction that will keep it from closing down and being demolished.

Pastor Hector Luvia, who founded and runs Senda de Vida, asked in Spanish, “Where is their sense of humanity?”

The shelter is located on the bank of the Rio Grande and sits in a floodplain. It was built without the city’s permission in 2007. For this reason, according to the order, the structure poses too much risk, and this is why they were given five days to vacate.

But the notice came 14 years after Senda de Vida opened its doors. Its existence has been instrumental to the processing and safety of migrants seeking entry to the United States.

“They don’t want migrants in Reynosa. It’s political. All of this is political,” Luvia said.

Since the pandemic began, because of Title 42, people arriving at the border were deprived of the normal asylum processing procedures. This created a massive encampment in the Plaza de la Republica, a park by the footbridge connecting the U.S. and Mexico.

The shelter has housed people from the encampment but the slow pace at which the U.S. is processing asylum cases, and the constant influx of migrants has stretched thin its capacity. Nonetheless, Luvia was determined to take more people in. The encampment continues to grow and is currently at 1,400 people.

Although the shelter will not close, the structure is not built to last on a floodplain. But, for now, it will remain feeding, housing and serving the people who come to the McAllen and Reynosa border seeking solace in the United States.

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