After years of being stranded on the Mexican border due to president Trump’s strict asylum policy, there is hope for the refugees in camp Matamoros. Under his successor Biden seems to ease the American asylum procedure.
It really says, “Hello! We inform you that your telephone appointment has been registered. Date: 26 February. Time: in the morning.’The email comes from the United Nations and is addressed to Janey Prieta, 44 years old, Cuban and resident of Refugee Camp Matamoros in northeastern Mexico. It means that one of these days she will be able to go to the United States to wait for her asylum procedure. Prieta: ‘that call means hope.’
For a week now, President Joe Biden has been allowing drop by drop Latin American asylum seekers who were refused by his predecessor Donald Trump. In January 2019, Trump launched a deportation program under the euphemistic name: migrants protection Protocol (MPP). The policy was given the less concealing subtitle ‘ stay in Mexico.’MPP became one of the pillars of Trump’s America First ‘policy, fiercely criticized by lawyers and human rights organizations, but according to the Trump government an ’effective means against the crisis at the border’.
From now on, asylum seekers had to wait for their procedures on the south side of the border, which they were only allowed to cross on court days. Mexico participated in the controversial policy, as Trump threatened to increase import tariffs. About 65,000 people got caught up in the MPP network. The majority of them have either been rejected or given up waiting. About 25 thousand tenacity are still waiting for a verdict.
Camp Matamoros is one of the many along the border in which Trump’s stopped migrants clump together. In half a square kilometer, an estimated 700 people live in structures made of SAIL and wooden poles. A few elements point to the presence of authorities and aid organizations: chemical toilets, plastic sinks, a sturdy fence with coarse barbed wire all around. The camp is located in the northern tip of Matamoros, against a bend of the Rio Grande River. Across the street is the Promised land.
Janey Prieta was lucky. A cousin in Florida managed to get through to the failing registration website for her. That is why she already has the confirmation for a call appointment on Monday while other camp residents are still staring at the loading page on their phone screen. Prieta hardly dares to believe it: ‘I’m probably not allowed to enter the U.S. immediately. They’ll question me about my situation first.”Yet it is true. Last Friday in Tijuana, in the northwest corner of Mexico, twenty-five others preceded her. As of this week, MPP migrants will have their turn in the border towns of Ciudad Juárez and Matamoros.