Over the past few months asylum seekers have been attempting to enter the U.S. at ports of entry.
Some are alleging they are not allowed to make an asylum claim. That is forcing many to wait at the bridge. A shelter in Matamoros, Mexico is where visitors claim to have been transferred away from the bridge to wait at a shelter. Some like Cuban Giovanni Lazaro says he was waiting at the International Bridge that leads to Brownsville, but he was asked to wait elsewhere.
“Yes, we were there the first day. Then we were transferred here.”
Many are from Cuba and Central America and in search of a better life. They say they are leaving their home countries out of fear, fear of their government, fear of violence, fear of what may happen if they ever return.
“If you get sent back to Cuba, there’s retaliation against you. They send you to prison for 20 years. You disappear.” Says Lazaro.
The asylum seekers say they are given a number at the shelter. Many of the people here travel alone or with immediate family. They travel from shelter to shelter until they reach a border town.
Such is the case with Mariela Carcano, who’s family was extorted for money and lost her husband to gangs in her home country in Honduras.
Carcano says, “After some time you can’t pay. You pay them, or you stop eating.”
Others travelling all the way from Africa, through Mexico, and into the U.S.
Miller Simon from Africa claims that he never thought his family would leave Cameroon and his life as a technician.
“I’m begging the government of America to help us. They know that human rights exist, but we don’t have human rights down there.”
Rene Sanchez, Asylum seeker says, “We just want to all be called at once. We want to belong to a society there in the U.S.”
We’re told this shelter is one of many along the U.S.-Mexico border. Some of the asylum seekers claim to stay exclusively in the shelter due to gang related violence in Mexican cities.