JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) — Hondurans who remain in Juarez waiting for asylum hearings in the U.S. or hopeful of starting a new life in Mexico now have a temporary consulate.
Honduran Migration Minister Raul Matamoros Bertot was in Juarez on Friday overseeing the operation of the consulate inside the Migrant Assistance Center on the Mexican side of the Paso del Norte Bridge.
The consulate will operate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays through March 1, Matamoros said. Services include proof of nationality certificates, birth certificates, referrals to lawyers, job opportunities, as well as financial assistance to return to Honduras.
Officials don’t know for certain how many Hondurans who came to the border during last year’s migrant surge are still in Juarez.
Matamoros said large groups of Honduras have left the border but others are trying to integrate into the labor force in Juarez after being turned down or while they wait for an answer. The documents issued at the temporary consulate will help them achieve that goal, he said.
Juarez Mayor Pro Tem Carlos Ponce Torres said the city has a place for newcomers willing to work. The foreign-run plants known as maquiladoras, in particular, have thousands of vacancies and provide employees with transportation and meal bonuses, in addition to “competitive wages,” he said.
Ponce and other Juarez officials proceeded to meet behind closed doors with the Honduran minister to discuss public safety issues. El Paso immigration advocates complain that the Central American asylum seekers returned to Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program often are victimized by criminals.