When 149 migrants have been escorted onto a bridge by U.S. Border Patrol brokers, they’d no concept the place they have been being taken. Many collapsed, crying, after they realized they have been again in Mexico.
CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico — They got here in teams of 30, kids dangling from adults’ arms, escorted on Thursday afternoon by United States Border Patrol brokers throughout the Paso del Norte bridge till they reached the midway level. Then, they have been handed off to Mexican authorities.
“The place are we?” one father requested a journalist with The New York Occasions.
“Ciudad Juárez,” got here the reply.
The daddy, who hadn’t been instructed by U.S. officers the place he and the remainder of the group of migrants have been being taken, seemed bewildered.
“Mexico,” the journalist clarified.
Faces contorted from confusion to anguish. Most of the dad and mom began sobbing, tears of frustration falling on the youngsters they cradled.
“They cheated us!” yelled one father or mother.
“They promised they’d assist us!” wailed one other.
A lot of the 149 migrants being taken throughout the bridge on Thursday had crossed into the US from Reynosa, a border metropolis in northern Mexico, the place they’d been detained by U.S. Border Patrol officers. They have been then flown 600 miles to El Paso, Texas, the place they have been placed on buses, pushed to the border and walked to the bridge.
None have been knowledgeable they have been being despatched again into Mexico.
As they walked throughout the bridge connecting El Paso to Ciudad Juárez, it dawned on them that the whole lot they’d risked on their journey — their lives, the well-being of their kids, the loans they’d bankrupted themselves to take out to be smuggled into the US — was falling aside.
Beneath, Elvin Bautista Pérez, 26, from Honduras, together with his daughter, Mía, 5, attempting to succeed in his household by textual content after being deported.
Vilma Iris Peraza, 28, struggled to hold Erick, her 2-year-old little one, pant-less in a unclean diaper, and her daughter Adriana, 5.
Adriana was standing in a pool of vomit on the high of the bridge, as Mexican officers surrounded them, the braids that Ms. Peraza had so diligently woven into her daughter’s hair a frizzy mess. The mom had needed her daughter to look her finest for his or her new life in America.
Ms. Peraza tried to consolation Adriana and provides her sips of water as Erick wiggled in her arms. Lastly, she collapsed on the bridge, hugged her kids and wept.
“We couldn’t get via, my love,” Ms. Peraza instructed her husband on the telephone, when she was lastly capable of join. “Right here we’re in Mexico, all crying. I don’t know what we’re going to do.”
The household, from Copán, Honduras, had tried to cross days earlier than to reunite with Ms. Peraza’s husband in Nashville. They’d been a household divided ever since he had left two years in the past to work in Tennessee. Smugglers had charged them $12,000 to cross — equal to virtually three years’ wage in Honduras — financial savings that now amounted to nothing as they sat huddled collectively on the bridge.
“I simply wish to reconnect with my husband to provide our youngsters a greater future,” Ms. Peraza mentioned. “In my nation, there may be loads of poverty, nothing could be achieved.”
It had taken most of the migrants a month or extra to finish the damaging trek from Central America to the US.
The perilous journey was price it, many had reasoned, so long as they might settle in America. They didn’t wish to go away their houses, however their international locations had damaged below corrupt governments that uncared for them and allowed gangs to rule the streets.
Now they have been in Mexico and had solely unhealthy choices: give all of it up and return residence or attempt to illegally cross once more. Each decisions left them on the mercy of Mexican felony networks.
One other migrant requested a Occasions journalist in regards to the state of affairs in Juárez, considered one of Mexico’s most harmful border cities.
“How is that this city?” he requested. “Is it secure to exit?”
Migrants being loaded onto vans to be taken to shelters in Juárez.
Elvin Bautista Pérez, 26, clutched his daughter as he struggled to get reception on his telephone to inform members of the family the disappointing information.
He and Mía, 5, had left their residence in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, in January, setting off for the US.
Mr. Bautista mentioned he by no means had needed to be an immigrant, had by no means needed to go away his household to study a brand new language and new customs. He had discovered a solution to reside with the poverty and corruption that wracked Honduras ever since he was a baby. However then two highly effective hurricanes slammed into Honduras inside as many weeks, leaving him jobless and homeless in November.
“They deceived us as a result of in the US they by no means instructed us that they have been going to deport us,” Mr. Bautista mentioned.
Ms. Peraza, beneath, along with her kids.
Mexican officers ushered the migrants off the bridge and into their places of work, the place they have been registered and instructed they’d be positioned in shelters till deported again residence.
However the shelters have been for these whose limits of despair had been reached. Among the many crowd of migrants, there have been nonetheless the hopeful, those that had not run out of cash or the willpower to attempt to cross once more. As an alternative of filling out the federal government varieties, they slipped out of the chaotic places of work onto the streets of Juárez.
A yellow sports activities automotive appeared out of nowhere, and a household was ushered into the again seat. They’d referred to as their coyote, or human smuggler, to choose them up proper on the authorities places of work. As soon as everybody packed into the automotive — as flashy because the coyotes are brazen — the household sped off, to aim the perilous crossing as soon as once more.