“Americans don’t know what this country is like, Mexico,” says Yaimin Fuentes Caña. “The Mexicans blackmail Cubans, Hondurans, anyone who comes to this country. This country is super violent. ”
The 38-year-old migrant speaks from experience. He says he fled Cuba after the authorities upset him for refusing to vote in the communist dictatorship’s sham elections. He applied for protection in the US, but under the Trump administration’s migrant protection protocols, asylum seekers in Mexico had to wait for their cases to be decided. Mr Fuentes Caña says he has been kidnapped several times since arriving in Matamoros in May 2019 and was only released after paying a ransom to the cartels. Corrupt officials and criminals blackmail migrants every chance they get, and the cartels also pressure migrants to pay for a coyote and enter the US illegally: “Imagine: If you don’t pay, you won’t hold out. You will never see her again. ”
Mr. Fuentes Caña eventually found refuge in a seminary in Matamoros that was supported by Texan Christians. It is one of dozen that have emerged on both sides of the border to help unfold the humanitarian crisis. These shelters provide migrants with food, a bed, showers – and a minimal level of protection against the corrupt officials, cartels, and criminals who make a fortune exploiting those fleeing the persecution or seeking a better life in America. For the benefit of migrants, many of these villains become superstitious when they meddle in churches and their ministries.
President Biden is running out of migrant protection protocols and gradually taking in asylum seekers who have signed up for the program. Mr Fuentes Caña is still waiting to be legally entered the US and he is determined to abide by the law because one day he wants to reunite with his wife and five children he left behind in Cuba. But the pastors I interviewed said other migrants had misinterpreted Mr. Biden’s policies as a sign that the US border is now open to them.