YUMA, Ariz. (Border Report) — About 45 minutes south of Yuma, Arizona. is the Mexican town of San Luis Rio Colorado, which has become a hotbed for migrants looking to cross the border into the U.S.
The area is vast, lined with agricultural fields, canals and the Colorado River snaking through.
The border barrier has been constructed on a berm on the U.S. side of the river, but there are several gaps in the wall allowing migrants easy access north of the border.
And migrants and smugglers have learned to exploit these openings.
The Border Patrol says agents from the Yuma Sector are encountering up to 1,500 asylum seekers per day so far this month.
They fear more will arrive in the Yuma Sector if Title 42 comes to an end as well as in the days leading up to its expiration.
Title 42 is a public health order designed to stop the cross-border spread of COVID-19 that allows border agents to expel migrants immediately after being apprehended and before they can ask for asylum.
On April 1, President Joe Biden announced his intention to get rid of the order.
It was supposed to lapse on May 23, but states such as Texas, Arizona, Missouri and others filed a lawsuit to keep it in place.
A judge in Louisiana sided with them and issued a temporary halt, meaning Title 42 must remain in effect for the time being.
The judge has said he’ll issue another ruling on the matter before the May 23 deadline and could change his mind.
In recent days, several migrants have told Border Report that if Title 42 goes away or stays, really doesn’t matter to them.
“People are still going to try to get here,” Mariana Rodriguez, an immigrant from Guatemala, said in Spanish. “Whether it’s crossing the desert or any other way, people will come.”
Rodriguez made those comments while waiting for Border Patrol agents to pick her up on the U.S. side of the border.
She was part of a group of about 20 migrants from not only Guatemala but Peru, Cuba, Colombia and Venezuela.
“My parents abandoned me six years ago, I have no support back home, can’t go to school, I came here for a brighter future,” she said.
Rodriguez said another reason she left Guatemala, is that it’s dangerous for a woman back home.
“At any moment we know we can get kidnapped, raped, every day you hear accounts.”
Rodriguez wasn’t the only one in this group of migrants running away from violence.
“I came to get away from my abusive husband,” Astrid said in Spanish. “He beat me all the time, not just me but my son, he injured him badly, left scars on his head.”
With tears streaming down her cheeks, Astrid said she can’t go back and asylum in the U.S. is her only opportunity for a better life.
“If I go back to Guatemala, he’ll kill me, he promised he would do it if I ever went back.”
When asked if Title 42 prompted her to leave her country, she said it was not a factor.