- by theguardian
- 21 Sep 2023
Federal agents moved through the quiet streets outside Sacred Heart Church in El Paso, Texas, early Tuesday morning, handing out flyers to more than 1,000 migrants who have been sleeping on the sidewalks, encouraging them to turn themselves in to immigration authorities ahead of the looming expiration of a Trump-era border restriction policy.
Worry spread throughout the makeshift encampment as migrants read the document, which urged those who skirted authorities on the way into the US to visit the nearest processing station a few minutes walk from the church. There, the flyer said, they would be "processed by CBP officers and placed on the correct immigration path."
Just hours later, hundreds of people lined up outside a US Customs and Border Protection enforcement center under the scorching sun with plans to turn themselves in, some holding pieces of cardboard to shield themselves from the heat.
Among them was Beckenbauer Franco, 42, who came to the US from Venezuela, where he sold food and fruit after being unable to find work as an attorney, the profession he studied.
There, Franco made about $5 per day, and told CNN a carton of milk cost between $15 and $18 - making many of the necessities for his 12-year-old daughter and aging parents unaffordable.
"What hurts the most is that they don't have enough to eat," he told CNN in a quivering voice, just hours before he joined the line.
"(I ask) that they hear me, that they help me," he said, referring to immigration authorities. "That they give me asylum to be able to work in this country."
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