Migrants huddle in open-air camps on US border

Saturday, Dec 09, 2023

JACUMBA, United States: Hundreds of migrants who cross into the United States from Mexico each day are being herded into open-air camps, where they have no access to food or water.

And some are left to sleep on the open ground in a desert riddled with scorpions and snakes, activists say. Campaigners say many will be there for days, waiting to be processed by an immigration system that is overwhelmed by -- and under-prepared for -- the sheer number of people.

“We were told by border patrol that this is the new normal,” Erika Pinheiro, executive director of the non-governmental Al Otro Lado, told AFP in Jacumba, California. Pinheiro said authorities keep asylum-seekers confined in camps like this until they can be taken to an official processing center.

In the Jacumba area, a total daily average of 800 people are in the three camps. “The migrants are told that they will be deported unless they stay in these camps,” Pinheiro said. “However, Border Patrol is not providing food, water, shelter or medical care. Sanitary facilities are abysmal.”