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BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Cindy Andrade-Johnson, a deaconess with the United Methodist Church, is asking Rio Grande Valley residents to write to Jill Biden to urge the end of the Remain in Mexico program.

An educator for 30 years, Brownsville-based Andrade-Johnson comforts asylum seekers at a migrant camp next to the Rio Grande in Matamoros, Mexico.

Jill Biden could become the next First Lady. Her husband is Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden. Jill Biden visited the migrant camp in Matamoros in December, 2019.

Andrade-Johnson said the letters could also be sent to U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, whom Joe Biden picked for vice president.

Cindy Andrade-Johnson

“Under MPP, migrants, who have the right to seek asylum in the U.S., are being returned to Mexico to wait outside of the U.S. for the duration of their immigration proceedings,” Andrade-Johnson said.

“These migrants have a right to seek asylum in the United States, yet they have been living in the inhumane conditions at the camp at Matamoros for over a year.”

MPP stands for Migrant Protection Protocols, the official name for the Remain in Mexico policy. Mexico agreed to a request from the United States to house the asylum seekers. However, Tamaulipas Gov. Francisco Cabeza De Vaca has complained about the cost of housing the migrants. 

In a video promoting a postcard and letter-writing campaign, Andrade-Johnson said the heat is terrible and the food available for the migrants is not nutritious enough. 

“The housing and water is inadequate,” Andrade-Johnson said. “We have a fantastic team of volunteers but this place is inhumane. No child should be living here.”

Andrade-Johnson is particularly concerned about children living in the tent city. “They are emotionally tired, you see it in their faces. They want to get out of here. They want to seek asylum.”

Andrade-Johnson said more advocacy is needed, which is why the postcard and letter-writing campaign has been started.

“They are good people,” she said of the migrants. “They are people that should get a fair shake. We need more letters of support.”

Andrade-Johnson added: “These parents have to get processed. People need to be treated as humans. These policies are not humane.”

Here is one sample letter Andrade-Johnson has written:

Dear Dr. Jill Biden, Vice-President Biden, Senator Harris,

The deeply flawed Migrant Protection Protocols are causing suffering at the US-Mexican border. Under MPP, migrants, who have the right to seek asylum in the US, are being returned to Mexico to wait outside of the US for the duration of their immigration proceedings. These migrants have a right to seek asylum in the United States, yet they have been living in the inhumane conditions at the camp at Matamoros (at the Mexican border) for over a year. Families, including many children and newborns, are suffering. This is wrong!

According to an article in the Washington Post (February 8, 2020): “Since the implementation of the MPP, nearly 60,000 asylum seekers have been returned to some of the most dangerous border cities in Mexico. Families, including those with young children, are forced to wait in squalid conditions, vulnerable to the many criminal groups and human traffickers that prey upon them, as they await the chance to make their case in the United States. At least 636 cases of kidnapping, rape, torture, assault and other violence against families forced to face danger as a direct result of the MPP have been reported, but the true numbers are likely far higher.”

This is a humanitarian issue! Please work to bring changes to the Migrant Protection Protocols, which do NOT protect migrants and cause them harm. Allow these people (men, women, children, babies), who are escaping from dangerous and violent conditions in their home countries, to come to the United States and have a chance to make their immigration case heard. They are seeking safety in the United States. They have that right.

Thank you for whatever you can do to change the MPP, bring these migrants into the United States and allow them their day in our immigration courts in a timely fashion. Lives are at stake.

Blessings,

XXXXX

Here is another sample letter Andrade-Johnson has written:

Dear Dr. Jill Biden, Vice-President Biden, Senator Harris,

I have been working at migrant camp since metering started 2 years ago. The conditions at migrant camp in Matamoros are and have been inhumane (many examples can be provided). The MPP policy the United States has place on humans is plain wrong and dangerous.

We are asking for just policies to enter the country for migrants and refugees as soon as possible. Lot of harm is being done daily to our migrant brother and sisters from around the world. If I can be of assistance in ending these unjust policies please let me know.

Blessings,

XXXXX

U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela has said he will ensure all postcards and letters get to the Bidens and Sen. Harris.

Valley community leader Michael Seifert said he has nothing but admiration for the work of Andrade-Johnson.

“Cindy Johnson is a faithful and attentive care-giver to the asylum-seeking community in Matamoros. She is a great Valley personality.”

Editor’s Note: Cindy Andrade-Johnson can be reached via: [email protected]

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows a migrant camp near the Gateway International Bridge in Matamoros, Mexico, at the U.S. border. (Photo credit: Wall Street Journal)


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