Texas Public Radio’s star reporter Reynaldo Leaños, Jr., has produced another video story from the migrant camp in Matamoros.
The story shows migrants are scared of contracting the coronavirus. The fact that their tents are in close to each other means it is hard to exercise the social distancing recommended by healthcare officials.
Many of the migrants are from countries other than Mexico. Many of them are seeking asylum in the United States. Under an agreement between the two countries, many asylum seekers that reach the United States are sent to Mexico to wait while their cases are adjudicated.
At a news conference earlier this week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seemed to imply that because of the coronavirus future asylum seekers will be sent straight back to their country of origin, rather than Mexico.
Governors speak out
Earlier this week, three border governors spoke out about living conditions in the border migrant camps.
Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca, the governor of Tamaulipas, Miguel Riquelme, the governor of Coahuila, and Jaime Rodríguez Calderón, the governor of Nuevo León, wrote to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
“Among the three states, we have about 25,000 migrants stationed on our border,” said García Cabeza de Vaca. “In this sense, we make a respectful and energetic call to the National Institute of Migration in the matter of prevention against the Coronavirus with these people who camp in places and conditions that are not adequate.”
The three governors said they are also seeking to establish an arrangement with Texas authorities to “strengthen coordination and, coordinate and attend to migrants who are residing, mainly in camps, on the border with the United States.”
Citing their concern about the spread of the coronavirus, the governors said medical procedures will be coordinated and information on the health infrastructure of each state will be exchanged, in addition to planning actions in specific and extraordinary situations, depending on the extent of the disease in their state.
The governors are requesting a special budget from the federal government in Mexico City to cope with the coronavirus. They say they are putting new guidelines in place related to schools, airports, recreational centers, parks, prisons, companies, and other areas and public buildings.
“In this way, these three states will be able to access the category of catastrophic expenses, which will allow us to provide better services in the health systems that we have in our states,” García Cabeza de Vaca said.
The announcement came following a meeting attended by the three governors and state health officials.