Salvadorans to get consular office in Juarez

Mexico

Activist welcomes assistance for stranded travelers, but doubts it will improve asylum odds

TIJUANA, MEXICO – JANUARY 18: A teenager from El Salvador, who arrived as part of the migrant caravan, pauses in the El Barretal migrant shelter which is scheduled to be closed shortly on January 18, 2019 in Tijuana, Mexico. Thousands of Central Americans are still waiting in shelters, churches and other locations in the hope of getting into America. The U.S. government is partially shut down as President Trump is asking for $5.7 billion to build additional walls along the U.S.-Mexico border and the Democrats oppose the idea. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — The government of El Salvador plans to open a consular office in Juarez next month to assist its citizens in northern Mexico.

A public announcement scheduled for Friday at the site of the new office — on Lincoln Avenue about a mile south of the Bridge of the Americas — was called off because Salvadoran officials couldn’t make it to the city, Juarez officials said.

The office instead will open in September, said an aide to Carlos Enrique Cáceres Chávez, El Salvador’s ambassador to Mexico. The office was borne of “the need to serve our migrants” in the region, said the aide in a telephone interview. The exact date of the start of operations is pending.

Since October, a total of 18,668 non-Mexican migrants have signed up in Juarez to start an asylum process in the United States. Of those, some 1,300 or 15 percent have been Salvadoran nationals, according to the Migrant Assistance Center in Juarez. Most of those have been classified as “family units,” which means one or two adults traveling with children.

Antonio Herrera, a Salvadoran activist in Texas, said he welcomes the opening of a consular office in Juarez, as it will provide protection services to his countrymen stuck in Mexico. However, he doubts it will advance their asylum petitions.

“We are dealing with an (U.S.) Administration trying to traumatize, to discourage migrants from coming here. The consulates are usually underfunded. They are a resource in case of (an emergency), but I don’t expect they can do much” when it comes to asylum petitions in the United States, said Herrera, executive director of Monsignor Romero Community Center in Dallas.

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