Sat, 19 Oct 2019

Migrant Protesters Crowd US-Mexico Bridge, Shut Down Traffic

Voice of America
11 Oct 2019, 04:05 GMT+10

Migrants, returned to Mexico to await their U.S. asylum hearings, block the Puerta Mexico international border crossing bridge to demand a faster asylum process, in Matamoros, Mexico, Oct. 10, 2019.

U.S. border officials shut down two bridges between the United States and Mexico early Thursday after hundreds of mostly Central American migrants protested at the ports of entry.

The demonstration occurred in Matamoros, the Mexican city across from Brownsville, Texas.

"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 to 300 migrants without entry documents had gathered at the midpoint of the Gateway Bridge," a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official told VOA.

Traffic at the B&M International Bridge resumed roughly two hours later.

But traffic at Gateway Bridge remained closed in both directions more than seven hours later, the CBP official said.

Mexican media at the scene reported the protesters were primarily Honduran and attempted to cross into the U.S. as a single large group overnight. They were demanding immediate processing of their requests for asylum in the United States, according to a report from Mexico City-based radio, MVS Noticias.

Photos posted by Mexican journalists on social media show men and women standing or lying down on the bridge.

Brownsville is one of the ports of entry where a temporary U.S. court was built to process individuals returned to Mexico under what are known as Migrant Protection Protocols, which force asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico until their case is called.

People scheduled for court hearings in Brownsville on Thursday morning were "being rescheduled for a later date," a CBP official said.

VOA reached out to the U.S. Department of Justice for more information on when asylum hearings will be rescheduled.

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