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As shelters in Mexico swell, migrants rush to U.S. border

Five months since the end of Title 42, a policy that had allowed the government to quickly expel migrants without letting them seek asylum, apprehensions are up 30% on the U.S.-Mexico border.

One of the reasons behind the rise, which was reported by the Washington Post, might be the overflowing migrant shelters in Mexico City, as well as what migrants say is a faulty app that they’re supposed to use to seek asylum.

“We have a capacity of 80 (migrants), and now we have 300,” said Samantha Hernandez, with Cafemin, a shelter run by the Josephine sisters. Cafemin is just one five shelters that serve immigrants in the entire city 620 miles away from the nearest border crossing.

“We receive people from El Salvador, Venezuela, Haiti, Afghanistan, Russia,” one worker at the Casa Tochan shelter told NBC4. Workers, they added, scramble for gym mats to use as beds for their jam-packed shelter.

“The last month we had 100 (migrants),” said Gabriela Hernandez Chalte, the shelter director. She said CBP One, an app created by the U.S. government that schedules appointments at border posts for migrants who seek asylum, isn’t working.

Only a handful of migrants got appointments, she said: “I think there were like six or seven.”

The Biden administration says the CBP One app is working and that they’ve upped the daily appointments to 1,450 a day.

Migrants who want to seek asylum in the U.S. are being discouraged from crossing the border on foot, and are instead being told to schedule appointments using the app. Those who cross the border without permission and are turned back face a five-year ban on reentering the country.

It is a risk David Friorio from Peru said he will take.

He escaped criminal gangs in his native country and had to sleep on the streets in Mexico City for weeks until finding space at one of the shelters in August. He won’t wait for the app to work and vowed to cross over without documentation.

“On Saturday, Virgin Mary willing, I’m going to the border to turn myself in,” Friorio said.

“We don’t have a phone to do it,” said Yulitza Hoyos, a Venezuelan migrant who is traveling with her son and nephew’s family. They’ve been in Mexico for 15 days and had to slept in the streets until finding space in a shelter.

“Here in Mexico, they stole from us. They cut me here to take my purse,” Hoyos said, showing off her left forearm.  

Without a smartphone to access the CBP One app, Hoyos said she has no choice but to travel to the border and cross.

She will be among a record number of migrant families who crossed in August. That month, the U.S. Border Patrol says it arrested at least 91,000 migrants who crossed as part of a family group.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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