Hundreds of African migrants gathered on the Mexican side of the bridge that separates Laredo, Texas, from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, on Monday.
A large group of African migrants gathered on the south side of the Laredo Port of Entry to protest U.S. immigration policies that are keeping them from entering the U.S. to claim asylum, KGNS reported. The group claims that “not enough is being done” to help them get asylum into the U.S.
The large group of African men, women, and children held their ground near a Mexican customs office. Mexican officials eventually spoke with the group to explain the situation. Some of the migrants held a private meeting with Mexican customs officers. The group claims they are unable to meet with U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials. They claim that Cuban migrants are being given preferential treatment.
U.S. resources for dealing with migrant asylum claims are being overwhelmed by the massive numbers of Central American migrant families who are, as Acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Matthew Albence told Breitbart News, “gaming the system” to gain entry.
Approximately 13,000 mostly Central American migrant families and unaccompanied minors are currently camped on the south side of the U.S.-Mexico Border, Breitbart News reported.
In an article written for Breitbart News, Kansas’ Former Secretary of State Kris W. Kobach wrote, “We are providing huge incentives for migrants to enter illegally and walk up to Border Patrol agents to demand a ride to the Border Patrol stations so they can make what is likely a bogus asylum claim. We know the claims are likely to be bogus, because the overwhelming majority of these migrants are denied asylum when their hearings eventually occur.”
Despite this, the Associated Press reports that 13,000 migrants are camped out in eight Mexican border communities, waiting for their opportunity to enter the U.S. and make a claim for asylum. The largest numbers are in shelters in Tijuana (4,800) and Ciudad Juarez (4,500). The remainder are scattered by the hundreds in Mexicali, San Luis Rio Colorado, Nogales, Piedras Negras, Reynosa, and Matamoros, the AP stated.
In response to the protests of the African migrants waiting in Nuevo Laredo, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials released a statement published by KGNS.
“The number of inadmissible individuals CBP is able to process varies based upon case complexity; available resources; medical needs; translation requirements; holding/detention space; overall port volume; and ongoing enforcement actions.”
CBP goes on to say, “Port of entry facilities were not designed to hold hundreds of people at a time who may be seeking asylum. And we are also charged with keeping the flow of legitimate trade and travel.”
The acting ICE director said that this problem of Central American migrant families coming to the U.S. to make these asylum claims can be stopped immediately if Congress would take action. Specifically, he said that Congress must fix problems created by the Flores decision and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act passed in 2008. These two obstacles currently force U.S. officials to release migrant families because they cannot be held long enough to conduct effective asylum claim investigations.
“If they changed the laws to allow us to detain these families as a unit together for a short period of time as we go through the immigration process, this would almost stop,” he said referencing the current migrant family crisis at the border. “It happened before when we set up family detention in 20014-15 the numbers plummeted. The same thing would happen again.”
In the meantime, African migrants who may have legitimate asylum claims are forced to wait.