MONTERREY, Mexico (Reuters) – These days, Martin Salgado’s migrant shelter in the city of San Luis Rio Colorado on Mexico’s border with the United States feels more like an hourly hotel. His guests, many of them from Central America, often don’t even bother to spend the night.
Salgado said he has never seen people cycle through as repeatedly as he has in recent months, after the United States began expelling almost all migrants caught on the Mexican border rather than returning them to their homelands. Now, human smugglers often attempt to get migrants back across the border the very same day they are deported, he said.
Previously, Central American migrants apprehended at the border would be processed in the U.S. immigration system and would often be held for weeks, if not months, before being deported back to their home country.
“We never saw this before,” said Salgado, who runs the shelter near Arizona’s western limits founded by his mother in the 1990s. Some Central Americans who arrive at the shelter after being deported “eat, bathe, and suddenly they disappear.”
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration in March announced that it would begin to quickly expel nearly all migrants caught at the border under the authority of an existing federal public health act, known as Title 42, saying the move was necessary to prevent coronavirus spreading into the United States.
But the order appears to be having unintended effects.