dispatches from the border
Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, gathered under the International Bridge between Ciudad Acuña, Mexico and Del Rio, Texas this week, while U.S. Border Patrol agents worked as quickly as possible to process them, The New York Times reports.
The makeshift, temporary camp and squalid scenes of "dense crowds sleeping on dirt" have since drawn widespread condemnation from local officials and the public alike. But according to interviews with 10 migrant families conducted by the Houston Chronicle, even those who made the dangerous journey didn't expect such difficulty upon arrival.
Some migrants told the Chronicle they were "completely taken aback by the sheer quantity of people waiting to cross," and had "expected it to be an easier process." Said Herys Salvador Peña, who traveled from the Dominican Republic, rather than Haiti: "I didn't know there would be so many people."
Other Haitian migrants said they were told by friends or contacts that Ciudad Acuña was the "easiest and safest place to cross and that it was open, unlike other parts of the border." One man, Jonathan Cadely Ely, heard Acuña was the ideal entrance point from a friend who had already made the journey. And when travelers gather such intel, it makes its way to others via word-of-mouth or WhatsApp, in hopes of mitigating an already dangerous journey.
"When we have a good route, we let people traveling behind us know," said Ely. Read more at the Houston Chronicle.