With nonessential travel set to resume at the U.S.-Mexico border in November, a Catholic priest in Tijuana, the Mexico border city to San Diego, fears an influx of misinformed migrants arriving to the border is imminent.
Father Pat Murphy, the director of Casa del Migrante Tijuana – non-profit group that assists migrants – said migrants have already called stating their intentions to come.
“I don’t think people realize the confusion has already started as we have had a lot more calls about ‘is it true that asylum will open up in November?’ and people traveling sending us Facebook messages,” Murphy said. “I imagine a lot of people will come to the border thinking everything’s open because people only hear open borders and don’t pay attention to the rest.”
The Biden administration announced the nation’s borders with Mexico and Canada would reopen in November for nonessential travel last week. The move only applies to travelers that are fully vaccinated. The current pandemic restrictions have been in place since March 2020.
Confusion over Biden administration’s border policies led to an unprecedented crisis in Del Rio, Texas, at the end of September that saw 30,000 mostly Haitian migrants pass through the border city over a two-week span, and 15,000 underneath the city’s international bridge at one time. The situation overwhelmed local, state and government authorities.
The main factor in the migrants’ decision to flock to border was a misguided belief that they would be granted Temporary Protected Status after the Biden administration had recently extended such protections for more than 100,000 Haitians already living in the United States.
Murphy said he believes the reopening of the borders could have a similar effect.
“It will make the coyotes happy because they’ll have more people to steal from,” Murphy said. “People are desperate. They’re going to pay exorbitant fees, anything to give them a little sense of reality to their hope.”
The priest added that when there’s an influx the border communities “become a haven of economic opportunity for the traffickers and organized crime,” that “will be delighted to have all of these new clients.”
Full story at Angelus News.