Days after crossing the Rio Grande on a smuggler’s raft, Salvadoran migrant Karla Rivera Hernandez cradled her toddler Mateo on Thursday at a bus station on the Texas border as they prepared to travel to join a cousin in New York.
Rivera, 24, a single mother working as a cook, left for the border last month hoping President Biden’s new immigration policies would allow her to stay in the U.S.
“That gave us the opportunity to come — he is a good man,” she said as she sat with half a dozen other migrants who had been released that morning by U.S. Customs and Border Protection with instructions to contact immigration courts at their destinations as their asylum cases progress.
But due to swiftly evolving and at times contradictory new U.S. immigration policies, hundreds of migrant families, many from Central America, still languished in a tent camp across the river in Matamoros, Mexico, after claiming asylum in the U.S. but being forced to wait south of the border by President Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy.
Ana Antunez, 27, fled Honduras a year ago with her two youngest children after they witnessed a neighbor try to rape her. She had hoped to join her husband, a construction worker, and 10-year-old daughter in New Orleans, who left after children at her school were kidnapped. The two have pending asylum claims.