JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – Hundreds of migrants continue arriving daily in Juarez despite efforts on both sides of the border to convince asylum seekers to apply for protection online.
The municipal police on Tuesday rounded up 200 migrants near the Juarez train station after they traveled to the border from southern Mexico on top of boxcars. Police took the migrants to shelters, but dozens ended up sleeping on the streets because some shelters turned them away.
“We arrived before dawn. We got here and the police took us to a shelter, but there was no (room) at the shelter,” said Oscar Marquez, a Venezuelan national. The migrants arrived with the hope of crossing into the United States.
Marquez and others walked to the Downtown Juarez Cathedral and slept on the steps or in a park and kiosk next to the church.
A KTSM/Border Report camera crew found several newly arrived migrants sleeping on top of torn-up cardboard boxes and covered with a single blanket. The small crowd included couples and some children.
Some of the migrants said it was 500 people who got off the train in Juarez late Monday and early Tuesday. Border Report reached out to Mexican officials for confirmation and is awaiting a response.
Juarez in the past two weeks has been dealing with a volatile migrant situation. On March 1, police chased Venezuelan migrants into the cathedral and allegedly dragged them out by force. On March 8, police called the National Guard after hundreds of migrants surrounded Mexican immigration officers trying to check for visas at the Ursula Hotel and threw rocks at their vehicles.
On Sunday, police and Mexican soldiers were unable to prevent more than 1,000 migrants, mostly Venezuelans, from rushing the Paso del Norte bridge and attempting an illegal entry into the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel halted the crowd at the middle of the bridge.
Juarez officials on Monday vowed to crack down on aggressive activity on the part of the Venezuelan migrants, which includes begging on the streets and allegedly harassing female motorists.
The U.S. government since October has been directing Venezuelans to apply for asylum remotely through the CBP One app. The program expanded to include Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans in January. A proposed rule now in the public comment stage would disqualify from asylum those who cross third countries on the way to the U.S. and don’t apply for asylum in those countries first.