BY AMBER JUAREZ
Photo courtesy of AP Images. Migrants waiting for food in El Paso, TX.
On March 27, thousands of migrants were being detained under the Paso del Norte International bridge in El Paso TX. This bridge links Ciudad Juarez and El Paso. Migrants were being held under the bridge by border patrol because the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ran out of space to process asylum seekers.
Fernando Garcia, director of the Border Network for Human Rights said, “If they wanted to prepare for this they could have done so. The administration could have redirected resources, assigned more asylum agents, looked at what is happening on the ground.” Border patrol did not have to keep the migrants under the bridge as they had many other options but they still chose to fence them off.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said that the conditions the migrants experienced were ‘an unprecedented and extreme violation.’ Migrants were caged behind a chainlink fence with a razor wire top.
The asylum seekers were kept in poor conditions. The ACLU interviewed some of the migrants and they said families with children were forced to sleep on the floor with no extra bedding. They also reported that the Border Patrol failed to provide food and water for the migrants and verbally and physically abused them. This is no way to treat a human being.
The ACLU is planning on further investigating on how the migrants were verbally and physically abused. Shaw Drake, policy counsel for the ACLU’s border center said, “We are demanding an immediate investigation by the inspector general into abuses inflicted on asylum seekers by Border Patrol agents in the outdoor facilities.”
President Donald Trump threatened to close off the entire southern border until the Mexican government “does something” about this crisis. Closing the entire southern border will not do anything but cause more damage to this situation. By closing the southern border completely no one will be allowed in or out.
According to the New York Times, as of March 31, the migrants have been released from the Paso del Norte International bridge. The migrants have been moved to disclosed locations and it is not known what conditions they are in currently. Shaw Drake, policy counsel for the ACLU’s border center said, “The agency has not told us or members of Congress where migrants are now being held and under what conditions.”
Although the asylum seekers have been released from the bridge, this does not mean it should be swept under the rug. We must bring awareness to this so it does not keep happening. We as a country are supposed to help those in need, we shouldn’t be making people suffer just because they want a better life.