JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – Juarez officials say they will continue asking migrants not to sleep on city streets, parks or under bridges due to cold temperatures, at least through March 21.
At a Friday news conference, the mayor of Juarez and the director of Mexico’s National Migration Institute (INM) also said they will use law enforcement officers, if necessary, to get migrant families with small children to shelters at night.
“This is a program we started a month ago to protect from cold temperatures people on the move,” said Francisco Garduño Lopez, national leader of INM.
Juarez Mayor Cruz Perez Cuellar said migration is a sensitive issue that the city will address responsibly. “I restate our commitment to work with other government agencies in full observance of human rights,” he said.
Thousand of migrants remain stranded in Juarez either after being expelled from the United States under the Title 42 public health policy or waiting for a chance to apply for U.S. asylum. Officials said Juarez migrant shelters are nearly full but will always take in families with small children whose health or safety might be at risk otherwise.
“The enemy is not the migrant. The enemy is the smugglers, the coyotes, the human traffickers who charge more than $3,500 to get the migrants across” the border, Garduño said.
Friday’s news conference took place at Plaza de la Mexicanidad (the Big Red X), which has become a landmark for those seeking a safe spot to gather before crossing the Rio Grande into El Paso, Texas.