DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - The Supreme Court has ruled the government's remain in Mexico policy can stay in place. This means asylum seekers cannot wait out their cases in Texas and other border states while their applications are pending.
Stephanie Leutert, director of the Central American Mexico Policy initiative at the University of Texas at Austin has spent time with them in the Matamoras, Nueva Laredo and in Piedra Negras. "People don't have much support in terms of housing, in terms of getting a job, in terms of how they'll get food assistance. It's pretty complicated." She adds it's nearly impossible for them to get legal support. "Which means they are creating asylum cases by themselves often. Not only do they have to fill out applications and collect proof and photocopy everything, they also have to have it translated into English, a language almost none of them speak."
She says it's a disappointing ruling for the estimated 25,000 people estimated to be waiting in Mexican border cities. "You saw the hope when the injunction was put in place again, you saw people showing up at the port of entry. They were really excited. They wanted to know if they could wait for their cases in the United States."
She says the border camp in Matamoras looks like a refugee camp. "By comparison, if you go to Nueva Laredo there's no tent camp. That doesn't mean people aren't being sent back there. It's so dangerous that people when they're sent back, are immediately trying to leave the city, if they're not caught first by members of organized crime and kidnapped."
She says Piedras Negras is somewhere in between. It's not as dangerous as Nuevo Laredo but there's only one migrant shelter in town and it only allows people to stay for three days. People are dispersing into different areas and trying to rent rooms.