EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Government officials in Juarez, Mexico, are trying to stem a potential crisis, as the number of migrants in their city has spiked to 2019 levels.
“The shelters are almost full … we’re talking about 15,000 people (in the city),” said Chihuahua state Secretary of Government Cesar Jauregui.
The official told reporters the state is trying to prepare for any sudden spikes in arrivals of migrants. The concerns stem from lessons learned in Acuña, Mexico – where more than 14,000 migrants mostly from Haiti gathered in less than two weeks to cross into the U.S. at Del Rio, Texas.
“We aren’t ready to receive a large number of people, but we are preparing so that nothing comes as a surprise to us,” Jauregui said Friday in Juarez.
Officials say Juarez is getting between 100 and 200 migrants a day who are expelled from the United States under the Title 42 public health rule to prevent cross-border spread of COVID-19. Another 100 arrive in the city from Southern Mexico with the intent of crossing over to the United States. The number of migrants brought surreptitiously here by smuggling gangs is unknown.
Santiago Gonzalez, the new director of the Municipal Human Rights Office that operates the 400-capacity migrant shelter at the Kiki Romero Gym in Central Juarez, said most migrants are still coming from the interior of Mexico, Central and South America.
“We have people from Haiti, but not in great numbers – at least not in the shelters,” Gonzalez told KTSM. The previous director told Border Report in August that the shelter was running low on supplies and emergency clothing for the migrants.
The other government-run shelter in Juarez, the federally-funded Leona Vicario, has nearly 700 migrants as of Thursday.
Mexican federal officials are also trying to prevent a repeat of the crisis in the Acuña-Del Rio area. Officers with the Mexican National Immigration Institute (INM) were spotted at the Central Bus Station in Chihuahua City on Thursday, checking the nationality of passengers, El Heraldo reported.
Chihuahua authorities, too, will assist INM combat migrant smuggling, new state Police Chief Gilberto Loya told El Diario.