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U.S. Asylum-Seekers Expand to Another Mexican Border City

Lucia Ascencio of Venezuela had waited for three months in Nuevo Laredo with her husband and two young sons

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US, Asylum, Mexican
Lucia Ascencio of Venezuela, her husband and their two sons, arrive back to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, as part of the first group of migrants to be returned to Tamaulipas state as part of a program for U.S. asylum-seekers, July 9, 2019. VOA

The so-called Remain in Mexico program for U.S. asylum-seekers expanded to another Mexican border city Tuesday with the arrival of a first group of migrants to Nuevo Laredo.

The 10 migrants had crossed the border to seek U.S. asylum Monday and will now have to wait in Mexico as their applications are processed.

Lucia Ascencio of Venezuela had waited for three months in Nuevo Laredo with her husband and two young sons just for the chance to make her asylum petition in Laredo, Texas. She was stunned by her return to Mexico as they walked from the bridge carrying plastic bags containing a bottle of water, a bottle of juice and an orange.

“We hadn’t thought that they were going to send us back,” she said. Her family was given a date in September to return for the next step in their process.

US, Asylum, Mexican
The so-called Remain in Mexico program for U.S. asylum-seekers expanded to another Mexican border city Tuesday. Pixabay

A spokeswoman with Mexico’s immigration agency confirmed that the first group of 10 returned Tuesday. U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials did not immediately comment.

The U.S. program, known formally as the Migrant Protection Protocols, acts as a deterrent for applicants who previously were released into the U.S. with notices to appear in court.

The program was already operating in the Mexican border cities of Tijuana, Mexicali and Ciudad Juarez. More than 18,000 mostly Central American migrants had been returned to those cities through the first week in July, according Mexican officials.

Nuevo Laredo is in Tamaulipas state, which the U.S. State Department warns Americans not to visit due to kidnappings and other crimes.

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The program’s expansion to Tamaulipas was announced after the U.S. and Mexico reached an agreement to avert threatened tariffs on Mexican exports last month.

The state is notorious for violent drug cartels that have controlled its border cities. But its long shared border with Texas also includes the busiest sector for U.S. Border Patrol’s migrant apprehensions.

Migrant shelters in cities along Mexico’s northern border have been swamped for months. Like Ascencio, migrants who want to apply for U.S. asylum wait for months to get the opportunity. The Remain in Mexico cities are even more affected because the migrants are sent back to wait for a process that could last more than a year.

At the Casa AMAR migrant shelter in Nuevo Laredo, director Aaron Mendez said there was already a “humanitarian crisis” that the shelter lacked the resources to deal with.”If they could have 50 shelters here in the city it still wouldn’t be enough,” Mendez said. Authorities had originally said 150 to 200 migrants could be returned to Nuevo Laredo daily.

 

US, Asylum, Mexican
The 10 migrants had crossed the border to seek U.S. asylum Monday and will now have to wait in Mexico. Pixabay

On Monday, Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said that 327 migrants awaiting U.S. asylum hearings had found jobs in northern Mexico and that companies had offered 3,700 positions.

The federal government has pledged to assist border cities in accommodating the migrants, but details have been few and local shelters complain that the new government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has actually cut funding that they had received to support migrants. Ebrard said they had arranged with 16 shelters to provide places for migrants to stay, but that would only meet a fraction of the need.

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Several civil rights organizations in the U.S. have sued the government over the Migrant Protection Protocols. Many migrants say they fear that staying in some Mexican border cities could jeopardize their personal safety. (VOA)

Next Story

Google Gives Up on US Carriers, will Roll Out its Own RCS Chat System

Plus, you'll get better group chats, with the ability to name groups, add and remove people to and from groups, and see if people haven't seen the latest messages

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Google, US, RCS
With RCS on Android, when you and your friends message each other with new chat features, you can chat over Wi-Fi or mobile data, send and receive high-resolution photos and videos, and see if people have received your latest messages. Pixabay

Tired of dilly-dallying at the end of US telecom carriers, Google has announced to roll out its own Rich Communication Services (RCS) on Android that will replace the traditional SMS text messaging with more useful chat features.

“To make your conversations more seamless, we’ve worked on upgrading traditional SMS text messaging with more useful chat features, powered by RCS (Rich Communication Services),” Google said in a statement on Thursday.

With RCS on Android, when you and your friends message each other with new chat features, you can chat over Wi-Fi or mobile data, send and receive high-resolution photos and videos, and see if people have received your latest messages.

“Plus, you’ll get better group chats, with the ability to name groups, add and remove people to and from groups, and see if people haven’t seen the latest messages,” informed Google.

Google, US, RCS
To make your conversations more seamless, we’ve worked on upgrading traditional SMS text messaging with more useful chat features, powered by RCS (Rich Communication Services). Pixabay

Earlier this year, Google enabled the ability for anyone in the UK, France, and Mexico to get chat features in Messages.

Users of Google’s app will eventually see a notification to “Do more with Messages,” and then they’ll be able to “enable chat features” which is RCS.

Chat features are already available for some in Google Messages, and are being broadly rolled out in the US.

“If you already have Messages, you’ll also be prompted to enable chat features in the coming weeks. If you don’t have Messages, you can download it on the Play Store. We expect this service to be broadly available in the US by the end of year,” said the company.

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Google said it is committed to working with its partners, including carriers and device makers, to provide a consistent and interoperable experience for everyone on Android.

RCS is a communication protocol between mobile telephone carriers and between phone and carrier, aiming at replacing SMS messages with a text-message system that is richer and can transmit in-call multimedia. (IANS)