McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — More asylum-seekers from the Caribbean and South America are being sent to the Humanitarian Respite Center in downtown McAllen, Texas, this summer, although the overall number of those released has fallen in recent months, Border Report has learned.
The Department of Homeland Security has been lawfully releasing upwards of 200 migrants every day to the nonprofit center, which is run by Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley, and most are from Haiti, Venezuela or Cuba, the organization’s Executive Director Sister Norma Pimentel told Border Report recently.
This is far fewer than the thousand-plus Central-American migrants from the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala who were released to the Humanitarian Respite Center almost daily last summer.
Title 42 restrictions still remain, preventing some migrants from claiming asylum in the United States due to health restrictions placed in 2020 to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. And most asylum-seekers from Central America are routinely sent back to Mexico if they try to cross the border into South Texas.
However, a growing number of Haitian families and single adults from Cuba and Venezuela are allowed entry into the United States.
They get help with travel arrangements at the Humanitarian Respite Center, which is located across the street from the downtown bus station.
They also receive free toiletries, backpacks, a change of clothes and have an opportunity to shower and take a nap before going on their way.
Since the pandemic began, migrants had been tested for COVID-19 across the street from the center and only those who tested negative were allowed to enter the Humanitarian Respite Center.
But with so many testing positive, officials last August moved anyone who tests positive, including their family members, to Anzalduas Park in Mission, Texas, to better isolate them and to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Migrants with coronavirus are still being held in Anzalduas Park, but now a portion of the park is open to the public. Migrants with coronavirus are held in a small area that is not accessible to the public.