In an unexpected turn of events, Central America migrants have occupied a U.S. – Mexico Bridge and shut down an official border crossing.
The bridge crossing is in Matamoros Mexico and the immigrants are protesting President Trump’s get tough policies that require them to wait in Mexico to get asylum.
Trump’s administration has implemented even stricter controls mandating that anyone coming from Central America through Mexico first seek asylum in Mexico.
The same deal was also implemented with Guatemala and President Trump seeks to widen it to other Central America countries.
Reuters reported that hundreds of the migrants have been camped for weeks on the end of the bridge in Matamoros, Mexico, a city known for cartel control of people trafficking and gang violence.
Many of the camped out migrants are awaiting court dates for hearings in the United States weeks or months later under a U.S. policy called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).
Video shot by a Reuters photographer showed men, women and children, some lying on blankets, mid-way across the bridge over the Rio Grande. The path into the U.S. was blocked by a razor wire-topped gate, behind which stood dozens of border agents.
Some migrants on the bridge stated that they were trying to cross as a group into the U.S., and were frustrated that court dates kept on being pushed backwards, leaving them uncertain of how long they would be stuck in Mexico.
“We want to argue to cross over – we didn’t ask to be in Mexico, they sent us here unjustly,” said a migrant who declined to give his name. He said he had a court date in the United States.
Elias Rodriguez, public affairs liaison for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Brownsville, confirmed the bridge had been shut for what seemed to be a small protest but said it was still unclear what happened and when.
Elias Rodriguez also stated that there had been no violence.
More than 51,000 migrants, mostly asylum seekers, have been returned to Mexico under MPP. At least 8,000 of them have been sent to Matamoros, a border city in crime-wracked Taumaulipas state, since the policy was expanded in July from other parts of the U.S.-Mexico border.