Mexican Official Tries To Move Asylum-Seekers Stuck In Tent Camps – By Reynaldo Leaños Jr. (NPR) / Nov 9 2019
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.
In a video taken by an asylum-seeker, an official tells them the encampment is no place for children and that he has the authority to take custody of their kids if they don’t move to a new government run shelter, but the parents object.
An asylum-seeker in the crowd asks the official how would he like it if his child was forcibly taken away from him, and tells the official what he’s threatening to do is considered kidnapping.
The child welfare agency in Matamoros did not respond to repeated requests for an interview with NPR. In written statements to the media, the agency said not a single child was taken. The agency said the social workers who went to the encampment just wanted to offer the families space at a new shelter.
Erin Thorn Vela, with the Texas Civil Rights Project, said she hopes Mexican officials do keep families together.
Drying migrants clothes in an encampment near the Gateway International Bridge in Matamoros, Tamaulipas. More than 1,500 asylum-seekers are living in the tent encampment.
Veronica G. Cardenas for Texas Public Radio