SAN JUAN, Texas (Border Report) — After months, and sometimes years, of being unable to cross into the United States, some Haitian migrants have become “restless” and are protesting at Mexican shelters near the border, a Catholic nun who leads volunteering efforts told Border Report.
Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, says migrants at shelters in the Mexican border city of Reynosa protest when U.S. Customs and Border Protection calls up people to cross to claim asylum in the United States and their names aren’t read.
“We’ve seen them come out, develop groups of them protesting and saying, ‘We can’t take it anymore. Please, you have to help us get into the United States,’ and I say it’s not that simple. It’s not up to us. It’s really up to the United States and the proper authorities that decide who can enter and when,” Pimentel said this week from her charity’s offices in San Juan, Texas.
Pimentel crosses the border several times a week to visit the shelters in Reynosa. She says the migrants have begun to give the pastors who run the shelters a hard time.
“They’re gathering together at the front of the shelters because they see that pastor is the one that is actually working with Customs and Border Protection to decide those that are given permission to enter,” she said.
But she says that’s not the process currently in place as Title 42 — the public health order preventing migrants from crossing to claim asylum — remains in effect.
The pastors are “given a call and told, ‘Please send us the following people that can come to the port of entry,’ and so he does that,” she said.
She estimates that there are upwards of 7,000 Haitian migrants currently living in Reynosa, which is located south of McAllen and Hidalgo, Texas.
She said 85% of all migrants in Reynosa are from Haiti, and they are suffering.
“There are so many of them and so many Haitians, and very few Central Americans, but the numbers are so high that there’s a great number of them still homeless, still outside on the streets and really needing care and attention,” Pimentel said.
“It’s terrible and to be out in the hot sun like this for all day long, every day for weeks if not months, it’s very hard on them. It’s extremely hard. It’s like they reached a point where they cannot take it anymore,” she said.
Pimentel said CBP takes about three hours to process one migrant at the port of entry, and she credits U.S. and Mexican officials with working together to help bring in migrants, despite Title 42.
Most of those selected have hired lawyers who filled out paperwork requesting humanitarian parole, she said.
Pimentel says she sometimes crosses and listens to the migrants complain as she passes out bottled water and what little food they can find for them.
At a gala to raise funds for Catholic Charities of the RGV on Friday night in McAllen, J.P. Morgan Chase donated $40,000 to the nonprofit organization.
Pimentel said a portion of those funds will help the Haitian migrants in Reynosa.