A look underneath the Del Rio International Bridge today doesn’t tell the story of what — and who — was there two weeks ago. The remains of hastily-constructed migrant camps have been cleared and tossed into six dumpsters. The dirt-grass terrain has been cured.
When assessing the recent border crisis that led to more than 10,000 migrants being let into the U.S., Father Jaime Paniagua of St. Joseph Catholic Church, asks a single question: Why?
As a group of migrants filed out of a taxi van at a bus station on Sept. 28, there was one that took longer than the rest. Eventually, he shuffled his way from the back row to the exit, where he was met by the driver in the doorway who told him, “God bless you. May you find a job and a better life here in America.”
The migrants camped beneath the Del Rio International Bridge in Texas may have been dispersed by Sept. 24, but the impact of the latest chapter in this year’s border crisis will still be experienced nationwide, as thousands of the refugees are relocating across the U.S.
Haitian leaders from the Diocese of Brooklyn traveled to Texas this week with a dual purpose: to aid newly arrived Haitian migrants in the U.S., and to better understand their needs in preparation for their possible arrival up north.
In the northern part of Donna, Maria Hernandez lives with her five children in a yellow mobile home. One of its shattered windows is boarded up; an air conditioner, propped up by a wooden pole, hangs from another. Among the items sitting on the ground outside are a broken toilet, a toddler’s car seat, and a mop.
Last Thursday, about 25 families exited a bus near a U.S.-Mexico border bridge near downtown El Paso. They had been flown in from south Texas, where they were apprehended after attempting to enter the country. Now, they faced expulsion into Ciudad Juarez, 800 miles from where they initially crossed.
Through early 2021, politicians have wrestled over whether the word “crisis” is warranted to describe the U.S.-Mexico border situation. Meanwhile, faith leaders and organizations have largely rejected the word as unwarranted, an oversimplification, a political tool, and an avenue for drastic solutions.
Wednesday morning, a pregnant mother and her young daughter stood in line for fresh clothes from the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley Humanitarian Respite Center (CCRGV). As her daughter clenched her right hand, the mother held a large yellow envelope with their travel plans to New Orleans in her left.
Near the end of S. 15th Street in Hidalgo, Texas, the road turns from smooth pavement to pothole-ridden dirt. Both sides of the street are no longer lined with local neighborhoods, but instead battered fences at the edge of desolate fields.