Matamoros | Texas Public Radio

Matamoros

In Matamoros, Mexico, more than 1,500 asylum-seekers are living in squalid conditions in a tent encampment and Mexican officials want them to move.

Officials recently took a page from the Trump administration and threatened to separate asylum-seekers from their children.

A Mexican child welfare official, holding a clipboard, addressed a crowd of asylum-seekers last week in a sprawling tent encampment near the Gateway International Bridge that connects Matamoros to Brownsville, Texas.

Reynaldo Leaños Jr. | Texas Public Radio

Officials in Matamoros, Mexico, are threatening to separate asylum seekers from their children.

A young boy eats his meal that was delivered by Team Brownsville as he overlooks the encampment where many asylum seekers sleep.
Reynaldo Leaños Jr. | Texas Public Radio

Update: This story has been updated to reflect the location of the shelter. It is at a gymnasium at Alberca Chavez.

 

There are more than 1,500 migrants living in squalid conditions on the streets in Matamoros, Mexico. They’re forced to wait there for their day in U.S. immigration court under the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy.

 

  

 

The encampment area where hundreds of asylum seekers are staying near the Gateway International Bridge that connects Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, Mexico.
Reynaldo Leaños Jr. | Texas Public Radio

Amnesty International directors from around the world visited Matamoros, Mexico this weekend.


Reynaldo Leanos Jr. | Texas Public Radio

Thousands of asylum seekers in Matamoros, Mexico, across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, don’t have access to clean water. They have to use the Rio Grande for bathing, washing clothes and cooling off from the blistering heat. Migrants have developed skin infections, and some have drowned. But a group of volunteers is trying to make their lives better.


Dani Marrero Hi (left) with the Texas Civil Rights Project and attornery Jodi Goodwin (right) talk to Mayela, who is seeking asylum into the U.S.
Reynaldo Leaños Jr. | Texas Public Radio

The Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” program forces asylum seekers who reach the southern border to wait in Mexico until their court date in the U.S. This has become an especially dangerous limbo for LGBTQ+ asylum seekers, who have reported violence and harassment against them.


Yulisa stands at the international bridge that connect Brownsville and Matamoros around 4 a.m.
Reynaldo Leaños Jr. | Texas Public Radio

The ACLU filed a complaint last week against the Department of Homeland Security for turning away pregnant asylum seekers.


Verónica G. Cárdenas for Texas Public Radio

More than 30,000 asylum seeking migrants have been returned to Mexico to await their day in immigration court — a process that can take months. This is part of the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy. The program says vulnerable populations may be excluded from the program, but many migrants who are considered vulnerable populations, including LGBTQ asylum seekers, are still being sent back to Mexico.


Reynaldo Leanos Jr. | Texas Public Radio

Tens of thousands of migrants are in limbo in Mexican border towns because of the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy. The migrants wait for months in sometimes-dangerous conditions before they may appear in a U.S. immigration court. So some volunteers decided to transform a problem into an opportunity. They opened a special school for migrant children in Matamoros so that the kids' education could continue.