JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) — Juarez officials are once again having to calm tempers down as U.S. authorities haven’t called any would-be asylum seekers since Aug. 1.
“We have been told that CBP (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) is trying to catch up on processing. We have people coming here every day to find out what is going on and we are dealing with that anxiety in various ways,” said
The center, which manages the waiting list of asylum seekers on behalf of U.S. authorities, is allowing representatives of law firms specializing
On Friday, Mairim Alonso fielded questions and dispensed basic information to more than 50 Cubans who wanted to gauge their chances of being granted asylum in the United States.
“I try to make sure they understand the (asylum) law. If they understand what they are up against, what is it that they have to prove, then you have a better chance of success,” said Alonso, from the Houston law firm of Alonso & de Leef, PLLC. “The more specific your case is, the more credibility you have, and in the end, that is what counts.”
During her presentation, Alonso emphasized to the asylum seekers the importance of having
“Sometimes your testimony alone isn’t sufficient or may not be found credible. But if you have evidence that backs up your testimony, you have a better chance that they believe you,” she said.
Alonso said American law firms are having to reach across the border because the Migrant Protection Protocol program — which forces asylum seekers to wait for their court dates in Mexico — has cut off most contact with clients and prospective clients.
“They are not permitted to cross until the day of their hearing and their lawyers are not given access to talk to them prior to the hearing,” Alonso said.
She said her law firm may be opening an office in Juarez soon with Mexican lawyers who can give asylum seekers advice not only on pursuing asylum in the United States, but also help them deal with their legal status in Mexico.
“We are being clear with them that having a lawyer is no guarantee of asylum, but it gives you a better chance. The example I give them is, if you’re sick you
The asylum list at the Migrant Assistance Center was up to 17,918 persons on Friday. Of those, 12,133 had gone to their initial interviews with CBP as of Aug. 1, the last day asylum seekers in Juarez were seen. The average wait time as of the end of July was three months. Also, 13,501 migrants had been returned to Juarez under the MPP program as of Thursday.