Reynaldo Leaños Jr. | KERA News

Reynaldo Leaños Jr.

A public health order issued in late-March by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention barred unauthorized migrants from entering the U.S. The order cited concerns over the “introduction” of an infectious disease to the country, which in this case, is COVID-19. What was an initial effort to contain the spread of the pandemic has since thrown the U.S. asylum process into disarray.

Three reporters — from the Rio Grande Valley, El Paso and Mexico City — took a deep dive on how this CDC order affects the lives of asylum-seeking migrants by examining how it’s being implemented along the Texas-Mexico border.

 


Nayda Alvarez and her family were hunkered down in their South Texas home a couple weeks ago when her dad saw a caravan of vehicles coming their way.

Alvarez suspected they were government workers but didn't want to get close enough to find out, so she took a photo and sent it to her attorneys. Turns out, they were government surveyors collecting data for upcoming border wall construction.

Hundreds of asylum-seekers who reach the Texas-Mexico border aren't getting a chance to make their case in U.S. immigration court.

Instead, the migrants — mostly women and children — are put on planes to Guatemala and told to ask for asylum in that country.

In Matamoros, Mexico, more than 1,500 asylum-seekers are living in squalid conditions in a tent encampment and Mexican officials want them to move.

Officials recently took a page from the Trump administration and threatened to separate asylum-seekers from their children.

A Mexican child welfare official, holding a clipboard, addressed a crowd of asylum-seekers last week in a sprawling tent encampment near the Gateway International Bridge that connects Matamoros to Brownsville, Texas.

Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro knew he had to do something when he heard what was happening to LGBTQ and disabled asylum-seekers at the border.

To stem the flow of migrants across the southern border, the Trump administration is sending tens of thousands of asylum-seekers back to Mexico to await their day in U.S. immigration court — including some pregnant women.

It's back-to-school time on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, and in the border town of Matamoros, Mexico, migrant children are attending a different kind of classroom.

Volunteers have created a pop-up school on a downtown sidewalk in hopes of giving the kids some sense of stability.

"One, two, three, four ..." Tito, an asylum-seeker from Cuba, counts in Spanish in front of a group of children attending the sidewalk school recently.

He fled his native Cuba because he feared being persecuted for being gay, and he asked that we not use his last name.