Migrants living on Paso Del Norte Bridge removed prior to Mexican president’s visit

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Federal official says Mexican families 'invited' to shelters due to harsh weather, chickenpox outbreak

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Citing concerns over the welfare of children, Mexican authorities on Tuesday took about 20 families from the Paso del Norte Bridge and half a dozen others from the Zaragoza International Bridge to shelters.

The move came unexpectedly and just days before Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador visits Juarez. However, federal officials said the “offer of assistance” to the migrants wasn’t related to that.

Andres Morales, a federal official with Mexico’s Bridge Commission, said the City of Juarez Civil Protection Office led the relocation effort, assisted by Grupo Beta — the equivalent of the U.S. Border Patrol. A KTSM video shows migrants at Paso del Norte loading their belongings onto orange-colored Grupo Beta trucks.

“This is because of the low overnight temperatures and because it is mostly children staying there. They are being taken to a safer place, away from the cold and where they can have access to doctors, medication and more hygienic conditions,” Morales said.

The federal official said there are also concerns about the spread of infectious diseases, given the recent chickenpox outbreak at the Leona Vicario federal shelter and at the Catholic-run Casa del Migrante. More than 150 cases have either been diagnosed or are suspected at those two shelters.

Morales explained that Grupo Beta is in charge of migration issues, so whenever “an action such as this takes place,” various federal, state and municipal authorities are involved.

Morales said the migrants would be taken to different shelters, depending on their physical condition and whether they are individuals or family units.

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