EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Juarez officials have cleared out a highly visible migrant camp next to two government buildings within sight of the U.S. border wall.
Human Rights Office staff on Monday approached migrant families and single adults camped on the sidewalks of Juarez City Hall and the National Migration Institute (INM) across the street. They warned them about the potential for someone to be run over by cars and the potential for disease in the absence of regular medical care, the Office of Mayor Cruz Perez Cuellar said in a statement.
Those are the same arguments the city has been using since the camp popped up last March. This time, Human Rights Office employees individually engaged each migrant family and persuaded them to board buses to a soft-sided facility just a few blocks east, city staff said.
Migrants were provided cots, blankets and are getting three daily meals inside the air-conditioned tents, said Human Rights Office Coordinator Santiago Gonzalez Reyes. Portable bathrooms have been installed near the tents east of Puente Reforma, as El Paso’s Stanton Street Bridge is called in Mexico.
“We initially transferred 187 persons who were happy to come. We had to convince another 50 or 56 persons but we finally got everyone who had been staying outside City Hall for a long time to come here,” Gonzalez said. “This is safer and consists of three tents with wooden floors, air-conditioning and purified water.”
Sanitation crews cleared the used tents and swept the sidewalks around City Hall.
On Tuesday, migrants could be seen washing clothes and passing time near the tents.
“We are well because we are not on the street (anymore), but we are big uncomfortable because we are right next to each other,” said Saida Ramos, a Venezuelan migrant. “What else can we do if we are in a foreign country, and we need to observe its rules?”
Juarez officials said migrants continue to trickle into the city, but nowhere near at the numbers they saw prior to the end of Title 42 processing in the U.S. on May 11.
(Juarez freelance photojournalist Roberto Delgado contributed to this report.)