Hundreds of migrants blocked traffic on multiple bridges connecting the U.S. and Mexico, demanding expedited asylum hearings, according to reports.
Between two and three hundred migrants staged protests at the Gateway and B&M International Bridges on Thursday, causing major traffic delays and shutdowns of both passages, which link Brownsville, Texas, and Matamoros, Mexico.
Authorities were able to reopen B&M International Bridge after approximately two hours, but Gateway remained closed for over 12 hours until 4 p.m., according to the Brownsville Herald.
VIDEO: Hundreds of Central American migrants occupy a bridge between the Mexican border city of Matamoros and Brownsville, Texas, and call on U.S. authorities to speed up asylum procedures pic.twitter.com/suc2MMQidV
— AFP news agency (@AFP) October 11, 2019
“Bridge traffic at Gateway International Bridge and B&M International Bridges was temporarily halted at about 1:30 a.m. after a group of 250-300 migrants without entry documents had gathered at the midpoint of the Gateway Bridge,” Customs and Border Protection said in a statement to local media.
“CBP has responded and traffic at B&M International Bridge resumed at about 3:45 a.m. As of 8:30 a.m., traffic at Gateway Bridge remains closed in both directions. Those MPP [Migrant Protection Protocol] participants with immigration court hearings this morning are being rescheduled for a later date. CBP continues to monitor the situation and will provide updates.”
Under the Migrant Protection Protocols, recently implemented by the Trump administration, many migrants must now return to Mexico while they await asylum hearings, instead of being turned loose in the interior of the U.S.
The process can take months or even years.
The Associated Press estimates there are more than 42,000 migrants from around the world now waiting in Mexico for asylum hearings, and activists in Brownsville claim there are over 2,000 waiting in Matamoros.
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