Edixon, a 19-year-old native of Venezuela, was “angry and stressed” about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in downtown El Paso. He crossed the border that illegally separates Mexico and the United States at dawn in Ciudad Juarez with his girlfriend, Milena, who smiled with delight at the sensation he made. With her trousers torn from concerts, she sat on the floor in the shade of one of those portable public urinals, shielding herself from the sun.
Edikson and Milena are the last immigrants from the Title 42 era, the health law enacted by Donald Trump in 2020 under the pretext of pandemic protection. The measure, which has allowed 2.6 million hot returns for more than 40 months, expires at the end of this Thursday, and that opportunity has encouraged thousands of people to try before it’s too late. What will happen when it already exists is difficult to predict at this point even for National Defense Secretary Alejandro Mayorgas, who told a news conference that “the next days and weeks will be very difficult.” He also recalled that the Biden administration had beefed up officers on the ground (a total of 24,000 agents along the 3,200-kilometer border) and issued two messages to immigrants. One: “The border is not open.” Two: “Don’t come here risking your life or life savings.”
Like many, Eddickson and Milena ignored those warnings. They walked for three months, passing through Venezuela, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico. Once at the border they drove a short distance to the Sacred Heart Church in downtown El Paso. He pinned “all his hopes on this shelter” at the center of the city’s latest migration crisis, where more than two thousand men, women and children have been sleeping on the streets in recent days. When Edixon arrived, only a few dozen remained. “I don’t know what we’re going to do. I don’t know if it’s a good idea to turn ourselves in. They’re going to run around the world. They’re going to break our hearts,” he said.
A stamp of crisis
It will take 24 hours to evacuate these streets, which have been resurfaced in the stamp of the border’s eternal crisis. At around 5:00pm on Tuesday, some unidentified agents handed out flyers to those who had crossed illegally and who had not yet reported to the authorities to urgently call them back at the nearest office. The pamphlet also warned them of dire consequences if they persisted.
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Bureaucrats, with their flair for rhetoric, dubbed it “localized law enforcement.” In the afternoon, around twenty armed men demanded that the migrants be “processed”, a move condemned by local NGOs as intimidation. Hundreds of them lined up until sunset to meet immigration officials at a white building surrounded by barbed wire, urged on by members of the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).
Many left with a handful of stapled papers called an Alien ID (like a foreigner’s identification). It has a date and place in the United States at which they must appear before an immigration judge. Some were given appointments at the end of the month. For others, late November 2026. As with many nuances of difficult and inconsistent “processing” documents, why timelines vary so widely is a mystery.
Nearly a day later dozens of them had still not left the building, and their loved ones awaited their fate in the church. The rest, an undetermined number, were deported to Mexico, other migrants, relatives and friends told the newspaper. By midnight, several buses dropped off evacuees in Ciudad Juárez. Again it is impossible to rule out that the goals of one and the other are not matters of chance.
Alien ID allows immigrants to move freely in the U.S. but not work: That permit has its own mysterious designs. Some flew to places like New York or Orlando, where people who came to America before them awaited them. Most seemed to share one destination: Denver, a Colorado city about nine hours (and $90) away by bus, whose officials are reportedly willing to support them, including paying for tickets to other destinations with bright futures. .
The hundreds of migrants who have set up home on the sidewalks around Sacred Heart Church in recent weeks have wasted no time in their journey; At times it felt like one of those Westerns where an outlaw is given until the end of the day to leave town. The local police called the trailblazers to go to work shelters in El Paso, where they don’t admit undocumented immigrants. If one of them didn’t go, he wouldn’t leave them within a block or two. A group of young Venezuelans told EL PAÍS that they were threatened with tearing up their papers (and having to start over) if they tried to leave the fold again. A couple of streets up, a uniformed face neither confirmed nor denied the information.
When the sidewalks were cleared and the morning before dawn, a thousand people packed, an army of cleaners appeared, removing what they had left behind: blankets, food waste, slippers, T-shirts. They also came to Edison and Milena. They hoped to find “a community” of which there were only remnants. They don’t know how they’re going to get food, whether they’ll have room in shelters, whether or not it’s better to send them back, or where to find the $120 a thug asked them for. False promise that they will get legal approval.
Like the young man who found federal, local, and state officials rushing to clean the streets, it meant cleaning the house before his parents returned. This Thursday, all eyes will be on El Paso as Title 42 concludes. Border apprehensions, which have recently peaked at 8,000 a day, are expected to rise to more than 10,000 starting Friday. The fallout from the health measure actually brought Title 8 back into effect, but with an addition: It will begin denying asylum to immigrants who show up at the border without previously seeking asylum through a mobile app called CPB One. .
El Paso’s mayor, Oscar Leiser, opened a brand new temporary immigrant shelter in a disused high school on the outskirts of the city this afternoon. He told reporters that the situation is under control. During the ceremony, he insisted that the “deportation” was the result of a plan they had been working on for “months” and ignored the actions of ICE agents, while repeating something similar to the film’s protagonist. french, hatred, While rushing into the void: “So far, so good.” What will happen from Friday? He didn’t dare try it beyond a phrase he repeated like a mantra. “The border was closed yesterday. It is closed today. And it will remain closed on Saturday as well.
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