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The guardian

“They said, go on”: the migrants were transported back to Mexico without any explanation

In a chaotic situation on the southern border, agents escort immigrants and expel them from the US before they know what is happening Joel Duarte Mendez, 25, and his son, Hector, traveled from Honduras to the US for 12 days in the city of Renosa, Texas. They were transported from the Rio Grande Valley to El Paso and later transferred and deported to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Photo: Jorge Salgado / The Guardian They could not exercise enough where they were or where they were headed when the guards told them to “go on”. They walked forward, according to the instructions, on an unknown bridge and it was suddenly in Mexico. Or, more precisely, back to Mexico. But 800 miles from where they had reached America. In a state of chaos on the southern border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents escort migrants along the bridge that connects downtown El Paso, Texas, to the nearby Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez, and expel them from the area. US before they even know what’s going on. A young mother sat right on the sidewalk on the Mexican side of the international bridge that connects the two cities and hugged her breastfed baby with her as they piled up in cold, late March weather. The child, over 18 months old, wearing a pink sweater and wrapped in a blanket that was first fed, then slept in her arms, ignoring the moments when her confused mother let a tear roll down her face. At one point the woman covered the little girl’s hands with socks to stop her crying because of the cold wind, despite the fact that the mother did not have her own jacket. A group of immigrants was quickly deported from the US with Trump’s 42nd title waiting on the Mexican side of the Paso del Norte International Bridge between El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on March 10, 2021. Photo: Paul Ratje / AFP / Getty Images The spectacle is well known in Juárez, where dozens of immigrants are unwantedly shot daily by the United States through a health protocol implemented by the Trump administration, known as Title 42, where immigrants can be expelled to prevent it from spreading. coronavirus in US. Some undocumented people crossing the US-Mexico border are admitted to the US to begin the asylum process, mostly unaccompanied minors and – in theory – parents with very young children. But most of the adult immigrants and families arrested in the United States today are expelled, though often not before traveling on a confusing and winding path from the US authorities. “I came through Reynosa, I went to the wall and the immigration took us,” explained Joel Duarte Mendez, 25, who had originally traveled from Honduras. Reynosa is located at the eastern end of the Texas-Mexico border, 754 miles from the towns of Juárez and El Paso on the far west. After crossing from Reynosa to Texas, Mendez and his two-year-old son, Hector, were briefly arrested. “Then they put us on a plane, then from there they put us on a bus and threw us here,” he said, pointing to the international bridge between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. I said, “this is my chance to go” and so it just did not happen that the US border mediator lined up the group of people after they got off the bus, took them along the bridge and then “We were told to ‘continue’ ‘ said Mendez. He connected with Hector, the boy wrapped in a jacket that apparently fits his father, who had the cold weather in a T-shirt. “I came with my son to give him a better life,” Mendez said. Their journey from Honduras to the border lasted 12 days, he said. It had a cafe and a house in Honduras, but both were destroyed when massive hurricanes hit the country last November. With the climate crisis believed to be causing stronger hurricanes, Mendez and Hector have become effective climate refugees. He used what was left of his money to pay for the trip, he said. “We thought they were letting in people with children five and under [the US]”So I said, ‘This is my chance to go,’ and so it just didn’t happen,” he told the Guardian, disappointingly. Families wait inside a treatment center in Ciudad Juárez as they interview near the Paso del Norte International Bridge. Photo: George Salgado / The Guardian 42 was the last big piece on Donald Trump’s immigration agenda that all but the US-Mexico border was not documented in the pandemic. The administration of Joe Biden has canceled Trump’s so-called policy in Mexico, where immigrants were forced to wait in often dangerous border cities in Mexico, while their asylum claims from violent countries were processed in the US, sometimes taking years. But for those who have not already filed lawsuits in the US, Biden continues to use title 42 while the pandemic remains. Many who cross the border now do not receive formal processing on a border patrol or in the service of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor are they taken to a family in the states to wait for a date with an immigration court. They are just eliminated in Mexico. Mendez and the breastfeeding mother were among a group of about three dozen immigrants, almost all parents with young children, whom the Guardian saw being expelled from the United States in recent days. In Juárez, they were escorted to a fenced area just off the bridge by Mexican authorities, where journalists were not allowed to interview them. But the tears were visible and many seemed confused The last mother in line had a young boy in her arms and another small child walking in front of her, both children were crying, while tears began to flow under the woman’s face when realized he was in Mexico. The group spent more than an hour in the fenced area before it opened and several families poured into the streets of Juárez, leaving to rebuild themselves. Those who had contacts in the area asked for taxi directions or called someone to pick them up, but others just sat on the street, unsure of their next move. One father, who was not willing to share his name, explained that since they had been in the US for a while, they had never been told where or where they were going. “We were there in the detention center waiting to be contacted by a member of our family. [in the US] “So they could come and pick us up or send us, but no, they lied to us.” The other father said: “It is completely false that they would let us in with small children.” Four children sit on the streets of Ciudad Juárez after being deported from the United States. Photo: Jorge Salgado / The Guardian There are conflicting reports as to why migrants move from one end of the Texas border to the other, ranging from emergency shelter accounts that are full on both sides of the border, especially because of Covid-19 restrictions that have shut down many or shrinking capabilities, into harsh tactics simply to deter immigrants with an extra dose of despair. Nearby, another family: three children gathered around their mother, the father pacing back and forth. He confirmed that they had not received any information from the agents who deported them. “Imagine what we are going through Honduras to get here: walking, hitchhiking, feeling hungry, suffering with our children,” he said. “They took our photos, our fingerprints, held us for three days and then sent us here without signing anything.” Mendez said he believed things would be different under Biden. He has a brother in Charlotte, North Carolina, who was waiting to pick up Hector when Mendez called him with the bad news. “It scolds me for the trip,” Mendez said. “I told him I had no choice, I did not want to be hungry.” Now, he was trapped in Juárez, thousands of miles from home, with no money to return. Nina Lakhani and Valerie Gonzalez contributed to the report

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