Refugio del Migrante, a lesbian-run migrant shelter in Mexicali was destroyed in a fire on Friday morning. Though no one was injured in the fire, 152 migrants, including 22 minors, have been displaced without shelter. According to a local newspaper, the fire was caused by an electrical short circuit in one of the shelter bedrooms. The shelter was run by Centro Comunitario de Bienestar Social (COBINA), a group based in Mexicali serving LGBTQ+ people as well as other vulnerable populations.
Six emergency housing facilities in Texas and California are set to close in the coming weeks as the number of unaccompanied children in U.S. custody has begun to slowly decrease. This is a result of efforts made to expedite the process of releasing children to family in the U.S., as well as declining border apprehensions. The number of children held at emergency sites has also decreased.
Testimonials from a court case on Monday revealed inadequate and unlivable conditions for migrant children being held in emergency shelters along the border. The testimonials described overcrowding, spoiled food, a lack of clean clothes, and an absence of mental health resources available for the children, many of whom are struggling with depression, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. Some children have been held for months in these emergency shelters. Despite the Biden administration’s promises of a more human approach to immigration, many testimonials indicate that they are struggling to provide for these children’s most basic needs.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement has directed shelters to expedite the release of some unaccompanied minors with parents or legal guardians in the U.S. to reduce strained capacity at shelters.
Shelters overseen by the US government received more than 7,000 migrant children in February 2021, according to government data. This represents a record number for that month during any year.
- At this point, no one at the migrant border camp in Matamoros, Mexico, has tested positive for COVID-19. The camp is receiving support from Global Response Management (GRM). Many of the nurses and doctors running the border clinics in Matamoros are Cuban asylum seekers themselves.
- Sin Embargo reports on how Ciudad Juárez is attempting to mitigate the spread of coronavirus among migrants. The operation includes a “filter hotel,” established on May 9, where migrants who arrive in the city quarantine with frequent checkups before being allowed to access a migrant shelter. It is supervised by specialists and doctors, many of whom are migrants themselves. The “hotel” has a capacity of 108 people and has hosted 22 people so far.
- NPR releases a two-part series investigating the increasing pressure put on refugees seeking safety in the United States from the southern border. It follows migrants waiting in Ciudad Juárez who are living through the United States’ rapid policy changes, and also focuses on the support the Trump administration receives from the Mexican government despite public rejection of U.S. policies.
- TPR reports on the migrant encampment in Matamoros, Mexico, which shelters over 1,500 people. Helen Perry, executive director of Global Response Management (GRM), shares that there have not been any positive cases within the camp – a testament to the safety measures introduced. In addition to quick isolation and testing of anyone showing symptoms, GRM and its volunteers are rapidly constructing tented hospitals and manufacturing over 100 hand-made masks every day.
- The New York Times reports on La 72, a large migrant shelter in southern Mexico. In the past, it has sheltered as many as 2,000 migrants in a month. According to the report, traffic has come to a grinding halt since late March, with less than 100 migrants passing through and nearly all headed south attempting to return to Central America.