Over a thousand migrants in northern Mexico have surrendered to U.S. border authorities due to frustration over recent asylum policies and fear following a deadly fire at a nearby migrant detention center.
The Customs and Border Protection agency has stated that it is processing the migrants, expelling those under the COVID-era order known as Title 42, and starting removal proceedings for others who lack legal status and cannot be returned under the measure.
The migrants expressed their dissatisfaction with the U.S. government app designed to streamline the process of securing asylum appointments from outside the United States, as it has left them feeling helpless. Migrants carrying children and belongings moved briskly towards a gate at a section of the U.S. border wall, hoping to gain access to the United States. A false rumor circulated on social media that they would be allowed to freely cross into U.S. territory by surrendering at a specific spot at the border. Some migrants turned back, while hundreds formed a line along the steel barrier on U.S. soil.
By late afternoon, CBP agents began processing migrants through a door intended for maintenance workers. Two dozen migrants interviewed by Reuters stated that they were tired of daily discrimination and violence in Mexico, fearing that they may suffer a similar fate to the 39 men who died while detained at a government migrant center on Monday.
Mexican prosecutors are investigating the fire at the migrant center as a possible homicide, with eight individuals being identified as suspects. Multiple migrants have tried and failed to obtain a virtual appointment to start the asylum process in the U.S. since the rollout of the U.S. government app in January, complaining of glitches, high demand, and a lack of appointments.