Matamoros, Mexico, May 14: With tough new asylum rules in place, many migrants on the US-Mexico border were seeking legal routes to enter the United States on Saturday, despite warnings of a chaotic surge in crossings.
Gustavo Rodriguez, who fled Venezuela after deserting the military, was among those who saw official channels as offering the best chance of being allowed to stay on US soil.
“I want to enter legally,” he told in Matamoros, one of several Mexican cities along the border where thousands of migrants fleeing poverty, crime or persecution are gathered.
US President Joe Biden’s right-wing opponents predicted a rush across the border after pandemic-era restrictions allowing for immediate expulsion ended at midnight Thursday.
So far the surge failed to materialize, though thousands of migrants had tried to enter the United States in the days leading up to the rule changes.
That was because anyone crossing the border illegally now faces a five-year ban on applying for legal entry as well as possible criminal charges.
Asylum-seekers are supposed to set up an interview appointment through a smartphone application called CBP One or processing centers the US plans in Colombia, Guatemala and other countries.
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