The Biden administration is allowing asylum seekers who have been waiting in Mexican border towns into the U.S. for their day in immigration court. Now more migrants are surging to the border.
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
The long, perilous wait for hundreds of asylum-seekers stuck in Mexican towns on the U.S. border may soon be over. The Biden administration has begun allowing some of them into the U.S. to make their cases for asylum, reversing policies put in place by former President Trump. But now, as NPR’s John Burnett reports, even more migrants are surging to the border.
JOHN BURNETT, BYLINE: Sandra Zuniga and her son, Elder, are some of the lucky ones. They were among the migrants stuck at a camp in Matamoros, Mexico, amid the rats, snakes, mosquitoes and mud. On Sunday, Zuniga and her son walked across the international bridge, received a notice to appear in U.S. immigration court and settled into a cozy condo in Brownsville, Texas. It’s rented by a volunteer who befriended her.
SANDRA ZUNIGA: (Through interpreter) Glory Be to God, day I arrived, I spent the whole day crying. To end up in such a beautiful place with my own bedroom and bathroom, we passed a great test in the camp. Some people even doubted the existence of God, but we overcame.
BURNETT: Zuniga says she fled Honduras with her son to get away from an abusive husband and violent extortionists in her neighborhood. They stayed in the camp for a year. Trump had suspended most asylum applications because of the pandemic. Biden has restarted the process. And Zuniga is among the early beneficiaries of the policy change. She taught kindergarten at a free school inside the camp, and she recalled when her students realized that their ordeal was finally over.