McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say they have temporarily stopped exempting migrants from being processed under Title 42, which had allowed some to cross into South Texas from northern Mexico, officials told Border Report on Thursday.
The decision came after reports of Haitian asylum-seekers protesting at shelters in Reynosa, Mexico, and growing repeatedly angry after their names were not called for admittance.
“CBP may, on a case by case basis, provide exceptions to Title 42 for particularly vulnerable individuals. In order to ensure the credibility and availability of the Title 42 exception process, the Laredo Port of Entry and Hidalgo Port of Entry will temporarily pause processing of Title 42 exceptions while we work with federal and nongovernmental partners to resume processing,” a CBP official told Border Report.
Sister Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, earlier this week told Border Report that many Haitian men were frustrated and had reached a boiling point after months, even years, waiting to cross into the United States.
Title 42 health restrictions, which were implemented during the Trump administration, prevent non-citizens from entering the United States from Mexico or Canada in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.
“We’ve seen them come out, develop groups of them protesting and saying, ‘We can’t take it anymore,'” Pimentel said.
Alma Ruth, a missionary with Practice Mercy, a nonprofit faith-based organization that ministers to pregnant women, young children and Indigenous migrants, says there are hundreds of single Haitian men on the streets of Reynosa, and they are vocal about their discomforts.
But she was quick to add that their mannerisms are also cultural, and just because they talk loudly does not mean they are riotous or violent and it should not be perceived that way, she said.
She said several Haitian males expressed discontent last weekend at the Senda de Vida migrant shelter after their names were not called by shelter officials to go to the port of entry for processing into the United States.
“They were protesting outside Senda de Vida and they shouldn’t do that because Senda de Vida is helping them,” Ruth said.
“What we’ve seen is a new challenge for us who serve on the ground in Reynosa. We don’t speak Creole, we are learning,” Ruth told Border Report Thursday. “This is a different culture. We do not know Haitian culture.”
Pimentel explained that CBP officials are the ones who determine who gets called up. And most of those have attorneys who have filed paperwork requesting humanitarian parole.
Ruth said the men who began to get riled up last week said they had hired American immigration lawyers and they expected their names to be on the list.
Pimentel says about 85% of all asylum-seekers waiting in Reynosa now are from Haiti. There are an estimated 7,000 Haitian migrants in the industrial border city that is located south of Hidalgo and McAllen, Texas.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com