Just in the Last Week / by Karie Luidens

Border Patrol Mobile Field Force Training.jpg

Over the last few days, I’ve been doing a lot of reading to establish some context for myself. I wanted to be sure I understand how the last century’s worth of history has brought us to the current crisis or crises (economic, social, humanitarian, political) in Central America, through Mexico, up to the U.S. border, and in our D.C. politics.

Meanwhile, as I’ve been busy reading older material, just in the last week more groups of Central Americans have continued to make news arriving in the borderlands.

On Sunday evening…

CBP officers in riot gear deployed after migrant group arrives at El Paso area border

Daniel Borunda
El Paso Times
Published 3:01 p.m. MT Feb. 25, 2019

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in riot gear were deployed Sunday [2/24/19] when a a large group of migrants arrived at the Tornillo international bridge outside El Paso, officials said.

More than 30 migrants showed up at the Tornillo border after a continuous influx of migrants from Cuba, Central America and other countries arriving in Juárez in recent weeks. 

The migrants seeking asylum arrived just after 6 p.m. at the Tornillo port of entry, southeast of El Paso, CBP said.

"CBP officers were able to accommodate a small number because of port processing capacity limits but the majority were not allowed to make entry at that time," CBP said in a statement. "CBP mobile field force officers were deployed to Tornillo to help manage the queue."

Since October, El Paso CBP and Border Patrol agents have been conducting "mobile field force" training exercises using riot gear [as seen in the above photo], in preparation for the possibility that migrant caravans attempt to rush the border. 

After midnight on Monday…

Almost 200 apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol in New Mexico

2019-02-27 Sunland Park.JPG

Border Patrol Media Release
Date: February 27, 2019

SUNLAND PARK, N.M. – U.S. Border Patrol agents working near Sunland Park apprehend 180 illegal aliens in the early morning hours of February 26. This group, like many others before, is comprised primarily of Central American families and unaccompanied juveniles.

U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested the illegal border crossers for violating the immigration laws of this country. Border Patrol EMT’s conducted initial medical screenings and determined that some of the subjects required additional attention. Sunland Park Emergency Medical Service responded to the scene where they provided medical attention and determined that some of the illegal aliens needed further medical treatment. Those in need of further medical attention were transported to a local hospital.

Then on Tuesday…

El Paso's Caminos de Vida church helping 150 immigrants dropped off by ICE on Tuesday

2019-02-26 El Paso church.jpg

Daniel Borunda
El Paso Times
Published 5:49 p.m. MT Feb. 26, 2019

Saira Lara wiped away tears as her toddler son tugged at her leg begging for a cookie.

Inside an El Paso church turned into a temporary immigrant shelter, the Honduran mother sobbed, saying it was painful to hear her child "crying for a little bit of food," she said. "They go to sleep crying and they wake up crying. For us, it's suffering."

On Tuesday evening, Lara and her 2-year-old son were among about 150 migrants that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released at the Caminos de Vida church in the Lower Valley.

Lara and her boy, Kenner Steven Lara Martinez, left their home in Honduras 15 days ago. On Sunday night, they crossed the U.S. border seeking asylum.

"There is no opportunity in Honduras, only crime," said Lara, a 23-year-old single mom who graduated after studying to be a teacher but found only a job in a kitchen.

The Caminos de Vida church at 7822 San Jose Road is asking the community for donations of blankets, jackets and other clothing, canned food, hygiene products and baby formula.

"We know they have been through so much; we can see it on their faces," Pastor Paul Cabrera said of the migrants, who are mostly from Honduras. […]

"We only had a three-hour window of knowing these people were coming," Cabrera said. "They had no other place to go. Nowhere to be housed. No one to take them in. So, we opened the doors of our church.

"We have no place for them to actually sleep other than maybe the floor. I mean it’s better than the streets but the Red Cross will be bringing cots soon."