A sprawling camp in the Mexican city of Matamoros, a stone's throw across the river from Texas, has since 2019 been one of the most powerful reminders of the human toll of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to keep migrants out of the U.S.
Once crowded with asylum seekers, just a few dozen people remain – as many have finally been allowed to cross the border to press their claim to stay in the U.S.
President Joe Biden last month rolled back Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols program, which had forced asylum seekers to wait in Mexico.
As of Friday, more than 1,100 people have been permitted to enter the U.S. – with over half of those coming from the Matamoros camp, according to the U.N. refugee agency.
The Trump administration touted the MPP program as part of its successful efforts to reduce immigration and cut down on what it called fraudulent asylum claims.
In Matamoros, which had scant resources for migrants, families opted to sleep near the foot of the international bridge across the Rio Grande.
Aid workers arrived. But so did Matamoros’ criminal groups, which doled out beatings and siphoned off donations, migrants say.
Human rights groups documented kidnappings and rape in Matamoros. Occasionally, migrants’ bodies washed up along the river bank.
Luz is an asylum seeker from Peru whose children are in the U.S.
"I want to go support my children, so that my children can learn a lot of things, to tell them everything that has happened here in this place, so that they realize what one has had to go through and what one has to go out in search of."
A U.S. official told Reuters late on Saturday that the last few people remaining in the camp were relocated to more secure locations, where they could complete the required paperwork to pursue their cases for asylum.