UNICEF opening office in Juarez to support migrant families and children

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State of Chihuahua pledges to continue assisting hundreds of families from Central America and elsewhere expelled from U.S. under Title 42

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JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) – The state of Chihuahua will continue to support migrant families and children and help a United Nations agency set up an office in Juarez before year’s end, Gov. Javier Corral said.

“We are facing a growing phenomenon; we are caught in the predicament of American politics,” Corral said in a visit to Juarez. “The massive application of the Title 42 rule is bringing to us thousands of (migrant) families. We suspect it is because they are getting good assistance and attention here.”

Corral’s comments came after a two-hour meeting with Jean Gough, the regional director for the UN’s Children Fund (UNICEF), and Pressia Arifin-Cabo, the agency’s adjunct representative in Mexico.

The three discussed the welfare of hundreds of migrant families, some with very small children, who are being expelled by the United States to Mexico under an emergency Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rule to minimize cross-border spread of COVID-19.

Corral said the U.S. is sending around 200 people to Juarez every day under Title 42, including some that crossed the border at South Texas and were flown to El Paso for processing. Unlike Chihuahua, the state of Tamaulipas across the Rio Grande from South Texas has been unable or unwilling to receive large numbers of families scheduled for expulsion from the U.S.

“We understand shelters are overcrowded. We understand the challenges (Chihuahua) is facing. They have all of our support and we will increase our presence in the state,” Gough said after the meeting.

Later, she tweeted that Chihuahua committed to continue providing services for migrant families and children, while the international agency would provide technical advice to DIF, Chihuahua’s Family and Children’s Department.

The state already funds a Migrant Assistance Center near the Paso del Norte International Bridge that provides information on shelters to international citizens who’ve been deported from the United States or have just arrived at the border from Southern Mexico. It also supports the Nohemí Álvarez shelter for unaccompanied minors stranded in Juarez.

“Together we will look for the best place for a UNICEF office, so they can have a (permanent) presence in Juarez,” Corral said.

The location and opening date are pending.

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