by Morgan Montalvo
The Mayor of Eagle Pass says authorities across the Rio Grande in the city of Piedras Negras, Mexico are going above and beyond to keep order among 1,800 Central American asylum seekers who arrived on the border late last week, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Mayor Ramsey Cantu says Mexican officials are housing and feeding the group and keeping U.S authorities updated on the condition of the migrants. Cantu credits decades of trust between the two communities with the cooperation from Mexican officials as the two countries address the caravan's humanitarian issues.
"We have been pretty much having discussions on a daily basis to assure that everything is maintaining in its pace, receiving reports from what the Mexican government is doing," Cantu says.
Mexican authorities, Cantu says, have issued strong warnings to the migrants, underscoring that attempts to break away from the group and enter the U.S. illegally will not be tolerated and will jeopardize asylum petitions. He says additional security on the U.S. side of the river is also dissuading unauthorized border crossings.
Because of the small contingent of U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel stationed at the Eagle Pass point of entry, says Cantu, only a handful of asylum petitions can be handled there. Mexican officials are informing the migrants that, in order to legally present themselves for asylum to federal agents, they may have to leave Piedras Negras and head for points of entry where larger staffs can process them quicker and in larger numbers.
"We need to assure that these people follow that process and, if they don't, there will be consequences that need to be paid," says Cantu.
Several charities from both countries have been assisting the migrants since many of them began arriving on Friday. Cantu says Piedras Negras officials welcome any additional assistance.