Remain in Mexico | Texas Public Radio

Remain in Mexico

A migrant camp as seen in Matamoros, Mexico on March 17, 2020
Verónica G. Cárdenas for TPR

The first confirmed case of COVID-19 has been reported at a migrant camp in Matamoros, Mexico. More than 2,000 men, women and children have been living there waiting for their immigration court cases to unfold in the U.S. under the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy.

Honduran asylum seeker Malek Gaitan, 8, studies words in English at the migrant camp where he lives in Matamoros.
Verónica G. Cárdenas for Texas Public Radio

Dr. Dairon Elisondo Rojas is walking around a new 20-bed tented hospital at the south end of a migrant camp in Matamoros, Mexico.

Asylum-seeking children wash their hands at the migrant camp where they live in Matamoros, Mexico on March 17, 2020.
Verónica G. Cárdenas for Texas Public Radio

As the U.S. continues to deal with COVID-19, a migrant camp along the southern border in Matamoros, Mexico, across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas,  is also bracing for what could be a deadly outbreak.

Updated at 11:35 p.m. ET

A federal appeals court in California on Friday briefly blocked the Trump administration's "Remain in Mexico" program, seemingly dealing a blow to the president's controversial policy requiring asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for their day in U.S. immigration court.

But within hours, a three-judge panel voted unanimously to suspend its own order, giving the government until the end of Monday to respond with written arguments and plaintiffs until the end of Tuesday.

Reynaldo Leaños Jr. | Texas Public Radio

Thomas Cartwright ran along a chain link fence outside the runway at the Brownsville South Padre International Airport. He was trying to catch a glimpse of buses loading migrants onto a plane.

Verónica G. Cárdenas for Texas Public Radio

For the past 18 days, a group of more than a dozen protesters have demonstrated outside a big white tent on the banks of the Rio Grande in Brownsville. 



Ray Rodriguez, center, reads a book to children at the Sidewalk School in Matamoros, Mexico.
Reynaldo Leaños Jr. | Texas Public Radio

Ray Rodriguez is reading a book in Spanish to dozens of children who are gathered around him listening intently.

The kids are sitting on the floor and leaning on each other. 

Reynaldo Leaños Jr.

Dozens of people gathered on Sunday in Matamoros, Mexico to protest the more than 2,500 asylum seekers living in their city in a tent encampment near the Gateway International Bridge.

A sick 18-month-old girl (center) was sent to Guatemala along with her mom and sister after being denied asylum into the U.S.

A Honduran mother and her two young daughters reached the Texas-Mexico border in December — and just this week — were deported to Guatemala.

Reynaldo Leanos Jr. | Texas Public Radio

Hundreds of red, blue and orange tents are scattered around the Gateway International Bridge that connects Brownsville, Texas, to Matamoros, Mexico, where more than 2,000 asylum seekers live. Children with their families have endured heat, cold and inclement weather for months. Such conditions are grinding down migrants' mental health.