March 25, 2019

Mediator: At the Border Town That the News Cycle Has Left Behind

When we arrived in Matamoros, about a dozen migrants stood shivering beneath the overhang of an abandoned guard post. These groups have gathered here since the Trump administration installed guards midway across the bridge — the very line of the border — earlier this year to slow the influx of asylum seekers, who are legally entitled to a hearing at ports of entry. The tactic is being challenged in court.

The group cheered and hugged Mr. Cordova, Mr. Benavides and Mr. Tucker, as they laid out the food and handed out the supplies.

We stayed to chat and trade intel. Two sisters from Mexico — ages 17 and 24 — said they had left home because of “politics.”

Men who murdered their uncle had threatened the rest of their family, they said, and their parents urged them to flee. Wearing donated gray sweats and white sneakers, they told us that, on the way here by bus and on foot, they were stopped by men in black masks, who molested them.

Later on, Mr. Cordova said he didn’t have the heart to tell the sisters that they would be separated if they made it into the United States system.

As the would-be asylum seekers ate, there was talk of the caravan of thousands of Hondurans making their way toward the United States.

What we didn’t know was that, at around the same time, Newt Gingrich was on Fox News, saying the caravan would help the Republicans win in November. Once again, the border was good politics for the president’s party.

The next morning, President Trump tweeted that the caravan included “many criminals” and spoke about sending the United States military to “CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER!” It seemed The Algorithm was heading back this way. But for how long?

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