Jose Luis Gonzalez
CIUDAD JuARez, Mexico (Reuters) – US officials on Sunday detained hundreds of Venezuelan migrants entering the country from Mexico after a large group forced their way through Mexican borders to claim US asylum, but were thwarted by barbed wire, barriers and shields .
Frustrated by problems making asylum appointments with a new US government app, migrants gathered at the border in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez but were unable to cross the border connecting the two countries.
Many migrants had small children with them.
At one point, some migrants attempted to throw an orange plastic barrier onto the US line, Reuters images show. Some people said that pepper spray was used to scare them away.
“Please, we just want to come in to help our families,” said Camila Paz, an 18-year-old Venezuelan, sobbing heavily. “So I will have a future and I can help my family.”
Neither US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) nor the Mexican government’s national immigration office immediately responded to requests for comment.
After some pushing and shoving with officials, the crowd of migrants eventually retreated, with some heading towards the banks of the Rio Grande, where they were watched by U.S. Immigration officers lined up from the other side.
Many migrants have been fed up with the asylum process since the Biden administration gave them access to CBP One, an app designed to make claims easier.
They say the app is suffering from constant disruptions and high demand, leaving them in limbo in dangerous border regions.
The US Department of Homeland Security said recent app updates will make this process easier and faster.
Describing her situation as “terrible, terrible,” Paz said she’s been trying to cross the border for a month now, watching her money disappear, and no closer to applying for asylum.
“We need answers, please,” she said, “the app (CBP One) has done absolutely nothing for us.”
(Reporting by José Luis Gonzalez; additional reporting by Dave Graham; editing by Lincoln Fist.)