For 10 months, Francisco Caal lived with hundreds of other asylum seekers in a tent city across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas, forced by President Trump to wait there for the U.S. government to decide his fate.
He’d fled Guatemala with his wife, Jeannethe Trujillo, he says, after he endured death threats and a bullet in the gut, the couple fearing for their lives. When they reached the U.S. border and asked for asylum, immigration agents turned them back because of the Trump administration’s 2019 “Remain in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers. They waited and worried in a squalid limbo, spending their days inside a homemade from ragged tarps lashed to the camp’s chain-link fence, all with a view of U.S. soil, just 70 feet away.
They prayed that Covid-19 wouldn’t get them before they were allowed to cross to “the other side,” as the camp dwellers, who came from Central America, Cuba, Haiti, and Venezuela, call the U.S. “We just put ourselves in God’s hands,” Caal, 52, said on Feb. 24, sitting on a log inside the makeshift home as his wife cooked some black beans over their little fire pit.
On Feb. 25, a month after President Biden ordered an end to Remain in Mexico, aid workers told Caal and Trujillo to report to a United Nations clinic in the camp for a Covid test and be ready to move. A few hours later, they were among the first 27 people allowed to cross the Gateway International Bridge to Brownsville. As of March 2, more than 500 had followed, about three-quarters of the camp’s population, according to UN agencies coordinating the effort in Mexico.
Emptying the camp would eliminate a symbol of Trump’s immigration crackdown and count as an early success for Biden, who aims to undo his predecessor’s most draconian anti-immigrant policies. The move comes as the new administration prepares for a battle to pass a sweeping immigration reform bill and as it draws criticism for reopening a Trump-era shelter for migrant children in Texas.
Meanwhile, the number of migrants crossing the southern border is surging. Border agents have detained 70,000 people illegally crossing per month since October, a sharp increase from a year ago.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Bottom-Fishing Can Be Scary
In a rough year for stocks, it’s tempting to try to grab bargains now. Just be careful
RETHINKING FAIR PAY
Companies are overhauling compensation amid an uptick in relocations
Getting close enough to touch an animal usually isn't a great idea. But in a quiet lagoon on Mexico's Baja Peninsula, the whales are happy to oblige
BUILD BACKS BETTER
In a scoliosis market where treatments have changed little since the 1970s, even new brace technology shows how far we still have to go
A long-term survey of women in astronomy reveals a sordid culture of discrimination and inequality in academia
The Teen Who Defied DeFi
How a young math whiz nabbed $16 million by exploiting decentralized finance | Index Finance was one of the great hopes of decentralized finance, the blockchain-based movement challenging Wall Street's gatekeepers. With one swift set of transactions, an 18-year-old math prodigy liquidated $16 million of its assets and opened a new legal frontier
Nigerian Projects Stall as Chinese Loans Dry Up
President Buhari's legacy could be marred by Beijing's waning appetite for costly public works abroad
The Twitter Deal's Big Debt Bill
If the acquisition goes through, the company will face mounting interest expenses as it tries to grow
The Very Last of Lehman Brothers
The bank whose collapse marked the beginning of the 2008 financial crisis is only mostly dead. Meet the people attending to its final remains
This Time Is Different
The slump that startups thought would never happen has arrived
A FLOWER GROWING IN CONCRETE
CREATING ART HAS HELPED JOSE LÓPEZ NAVIGATE THROUGH THE DARKEST PERIODS OF HIS LIFE
MEXICAN SENATE APPROVES NATIONALIZATION OF LITHIUM MINING
Mexico’s Senate passed a bill this week to nationalize lithium mining and extraction. The bill was submitted by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who is expected to sign it into law.
FRONT AND CENTER
A Hamptons house with an art-world legacy is reborn as a gathering and exhibition space for creatives.
Bars Are Full of Good Ideas
Shutting them down—for prohibition or Covid—does more harm than you think.
MMA CHAMP CAIN CAGED FOR GUNFIGHT!
FORMER UFC champ Cain Velasquez’s next fight will be in court after he was arrested on charges of attempted murder!
Flights of Fancy
Painted lady butterflies rival monarchs in their migratory journeys.
Dishes Foodies Travel For
“Good food is very often, even most often, simple food,” Anthony Bourdain said.
Immune Boosting Foods
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food," Hippocrates said. Since ancient times, humans around the world have looked to nature for both fuel and healing. Modern research shows many of the foods and herbs that people originally used as medicine, from South African hibiscus to Indian turmeric to Panamanian dark chocolate, still have immune-boosting health benefits today. Try integrating some of these tried-and-true remedies into your lifestyle, and eat to beat those winter flus.
A true blue Trio
Find out which of the three North American bluebirds call your area home, and learn how to win them over with the right food and habitat.
OSWALD KILLED JFK FOR THE KREMLIN!
Secret meetings with KGB handler bared in declassified documents