Josue, an asylum seeker who has been living in a camp in Matamoros with his family since last summer, sent photos and videos over the weekend he wants people living in the United States to see.
Josue and his family have contributed substantially to the well-being of the camp, working with Brownsville-based humanitarian organizations to distribute supplies and communicate needs. Aware of a protest happening at the Port Isabel Detention Center across the river in Los Fresnos, Texas, on Saturday, he said, “We hope that the people who are locked up can be free. We can only ask God to free us, too. Because we’ve been here a long time. We are the people that have been in detention the longest. Here, it feels like we’re prisoners in this place. We’ve suffered a lot. We’ve gone through rains, heat — we’ve fought against flies, mosquitos, snakes — many things with problems, because we have a little bit of everything. It’s something very worrisome, troublesome.”
Asylum seekers sent to Mexico under the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP, ‘Remain in Mexico’ program) are considered in “detained” status for the duration of their asylum proceedings in the United States, though they live unsupervised unsupported, and often homeless in northern Mexico.
A photo of a snake found inside the camp, hanging from a tree branch used to prop up a tent.
Josue sent a video showing camp residents and volunteers gathered near the bridge, waving glowing cell phones and lights in the air, calling for peace. “It’s the night of peace. We’ve all gathered here below God. The night of humanity, for us to feel free,” he said.
In a second video, he called for an end to borders and racism. “They’re saying that god put us through these things for a reason. We want peace for the world. Peace and love, for all of humanity. Stop now. Stop racism. Stop violence. Stop with the borders. No more. Peace for humanity. Peace and love. No more closed borders. No more racism. All of us are the same in the eyes of god, all created in his majesty, equally.”
“With everything we’ve gone through — rain, heat, hunger, thirst — we just want to live in normalcy like everyone else, with a roof. With all the snakes and flies and mosquitos. Here we are, all the immigrants. We’re just asking for peace. Peace and love. Peace and love is what we want in our world. No more closed borders, no more injustices, no more. We aren’t the bad ones. The bad ones are those who took us and put us here. Don’t take anymore.”
Tyler Henson provided translations for this article.