Hundreds of migrants try to force their way into US at Mexico border

Migrants of Venezuelan origin attempting to cross into the US on March 12 at the Paso del Norte International Bridge, which connects Mexico with its northern neighbour. PHOTO: AFP
US Customs and Border Protection agents on the border with Mexico on March 12, confronting migrants who were protesting against problems with securing appointments to seek asylum in the United States. PHOTO: REUTERS
Many of the migrants had small children with them. PHOTO: AFP

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – Officials in the United States stopped hundreds of mostly Venezuelan migrants from entering the country from Mexico on Sunday after a large group broke through Mexican lines to demand asylum in the US, only to be thwarted by barbed wire, barriers and shields.

Frustrated with problems securing appointments to seek asylum using a new US government app, the migrants gathered at the frontier in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, but could not breach the crossing connecting the two countries.

Many of the migrants had small children with them.

At one point, some migrants attempted to hurl an orange plastic barrier at the US line, Reuters images show. Some people said pepper spray was deployed to repel them.

“Please, we just want to get in, so we can help our families,” said Ms Camila Paz, an 18-year-old Venezuelan, sobbing heavily. “So I can have a future and help my family.”

Neither US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) nor the Mexican government’s national migration authority immediately replied to requests for comment.

After some pushing and shoving with the officials, the crowd of migrants eventually withdrew, with some heading down to the banks of the Rio Grande where they were monitored by US immigration officials arrayed on the other side.

Many migrants have become fed up with the asylum process since the Biden administration made available to them an app called CBP One, which was meant to streamline applications.

Migrants say the app is beset by persistent glitches and high demand, leaving them in limbo in perilous border regions.

The US Department of Homeland Security has said that recent app updates will simplify and speed up the process.

Describing her situation as “horrible, horrible”, Ms Paz said she had been trying to cross the border for a month, watching her money disappear and getting no nearer to claiming asylum.

“We want answers please,” she said, “the (CBP One) application has done absolutely nothing for us.” REUTERS

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