U.S. gives hope to previously denied asylum seekers in camp – The Denver Post

MEXICO CITY — In a camp at the U.S.-Mexico border, some asylum seekers were told by officials that the U.S. government may reopen their cases and they would eventually be able to enter the U.S. to wait out the asylum process.

The new opening for people previously denied came as Mexican authorities worked to close the improvised camp along the banks of the Rio Grande, across from Brownsville, Texas, that has housed thousands of asylum seekers over the more than two years it existed.

Late Friday night, an official with Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said via Twitter that the last asylum seekers with active cases from the camp had been processed and the camp was closed. Others with closed asylum cases who were told their cases could be reopened were urged to move to a shelter. But about 50 had still remained in the camp on Saturday until they were finally moved to a shelter and the camp closed later in the day.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security did not respond to requests for comment Friday and Saturday.

Last month, the Biden administration began processing asylum seekers who had been forced to wait out the long process from Mexico during the administration of former President Donald Trump. The Matamoros camp was one of the most visible signs of a policy implemented in response to high numbers of asylum seekers by an administration that worked in various ways to make it more difficult to access protective status in the United States.

On Saturday, Juan Antonio Sierra, who runs the migrant shelter in Matamoros, confirmed that he had committed to housing asylum seekers with closed cases so that the camp could be closed.

Sierra said that the day before, the U.S. Consul in Matamoros, Yolanda Parra, met with officials from the UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration, Mexico’s National Immigration Institute, Sierra and some migrants. She agreed that the U.S. government would evaluate the possible reopening of closed cases for the people who remained in the camp, Sierra said.

The U.S. State Department referred questions to the Department of Homeland Security.

“I was going to take them to the Casa del Migrante until it was sure they were going to cross,” Sierra said. The goal, he said, was to avoid new people arriving at the camp and assure that those who were still there would only cross the border when it was clear their cases would be reopened and avoid that they were immediately deported.

“They’re trying to reopen (the cases),” Sierra said. “You’re not going to send a person so that they deport them to their country.” But he said the migrants were so desperate they “wanted to go without guarantees.”

Asked if word of reopened cases could draw more people to the border, Rev. Francisco Gallardo, who is in charge of the shelter, said “the avalanche is already here, a lot of people are arriving.” He warned it could become more complicated, because there were signs that a new camp would form.