EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – With cars whizzing by at 60 to 70 miles per hour on Loop 375, the middle-aged Venezuelan man walked on the side of the road with a small girl on his shoulders. The child in the pink jacket looked no older than 4.
“Yes, it’s dangerous. But what else can one do?” asked the man who had just come over the border wall from Mexico and crossed the freeway with the child in his arms.
The interview was cut short as a group of people the man said were family members yelled at him from across Loop 375.
The man walked back onto the asphalt trusting that oncoming westbound traffic would stop. He got his leg over the median of the road also known as Border Highway and sprinted ahead of a car speeding eastbound. The two made it unhurt. The man kept walking with group along the border wall to whatever destination the migrants had in mind.
El Paso resident Veronica del Pino says she’s seen unauthorized migrants cross the dangerous highway all too often in recent months, then head straight into neighborhoods around Riverside High School.
“They’re running through traffic […] first of all, it’s illegal to cross the freeway. You’re not supposed to cross the freeway. I’m surprised they don’t have a crosswalk now but that’s what it looks like it’s going to end up as – a crosswalk,” she said. “Enough is enough!”
The woman stood at the edge of a park where dirty clothes and abandoned backpacks lay strewn around. The shoes looked worn and muddy.
Jose Briseno, whose home overlooks the park, said it’s not unusual for migrants to take a respite at the park and change before proceeding to the next major avenue. Almost every home along the street he lives on has dogs – whom he refers to as their “security system.”
He has lived there 20 years and says the migrants have never bothered him. But he says the numbers just keep growing.
“After they built the wall, it slowed down a lot … but now that they pretty much are letting everybody through, you don’t see them too much during the day, it’s mostly at night,” Briseno said. “You can hear the dogs going crazy so sometimes we look out the window and we can see people running across the street.”
On Monday, several Venezuelans crossed the park near Riverside and sprinted into Briseno’s neighborhood.
Border Report caught up to them and the migrants said they had spent a month in Juarez, Mexico, and gave up on the idea of applying for asylum in the United States. They said Title 42 — which has been keeping Venezuelans from applying for asylum since October 12 — may or may not go away and they were running out of resources in Juarez. Luis said he worked in a mechanical shop and did odd jobs to survive in Mexico.
“We came here because of the (bad) economy. We have family, we have a mom. Our goal was to be here by December to send her something, at least for food. Instead, we have nothing and will spend Christmas away from our families,” said a Venezuelan who only identified himself as Luis.
The man walked along Mimosa Street with three companions who asked passers by where the nearest McDonald’s was. One directed them to Alameda Street (Texas Highway 20). Luis abandoned his dirty jacket on the sidewalk and the group proceeded deeper into the city.
“They’re people. Why not? Ninety-five percent of the people here (El Paso) immigrated from Mexico. So, why not?” said another Mimosa Street resident, who declined to give his name. “I think what they should do is have a place for them to go. If they’re going to let them in, then help them.”