Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services welcomes asylum seekers in MPP or “Remain In Mexico”

            On March 19, 2021 asylum seekers who had been waiting in Juarez under the Migrant Protection Protocols, MPP, started being welcomed into El Paso. Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services was there to greet and welcome these asylum seekers as they entered the United States for the first time. The program, commonly referred to as “Remain in Mexico” required some immigrants to wait nearly two years in Juarez, a country foreign and far away from their home country. Unfortunately, this included a lot of families, women and children who endured unimaginable trauma. In February, 2021 the Biden Administration announced asylum seekers in MPP would be allowed to enter the United States to pursue their asylum claims.

DMRS client Kenia and her 4 children

DMRS Staff Attorney Valgina Rodriguez is the immigration attorney representing many of these clients and has been essential in welcoming them into the United States after such a long and traumatic process. One of those clients is Kenia, who entered the U.S. with her four children. She fled her home country of Nicaragua where she was physically and sexually assaulted by her now former partner. Her abuser is a member of a criminal gang and threatened to kill her and harm her children. When Kenia reached the U.S. Mexico border, she was sent back to Juarez where she was forced to wait more than two years. Despite her efforts to escape her abuser, Kenia’s ex-partner traveled to Juarez where he found her at a shelter for migrants and assaulted her. Fortunately, she was able to get away thanks to a shelter worker who stepped in to help. Kenia reported the assault to police but had to leave the shelter and quit her job in Juarez because she feared her ex-partner would find her again. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee, or UNHCR has been working with to process asylum seekers in MPP and determined that Kenia and her children were especially vulnerable and placed them as a high priority to enter the United States. Kenia and her children are now living in the U.S. where she will pursue her asylum claim.

L to R: Oscar, DMRS Attorney Valgina Rodriguez, Janetzy, daughter

Oscar and Janetzy fled Venezuela in 2019 with their young daughter. The family suffered abuse and death threats for speaking out against their country’s president, Nicolas Maduro. Once they reached the U.S. Mexico border, the family was forced to return to Juarez. Janetzy is 35 weeks pregnant and feared she would have to give birth to her baby in Mexico, a country foreign to her and her family. Their DMRS attorney Valgina Rodriguez advocated for them to be a high priority because of Janetzy’s pregnancy. Through the grace of God, the family received the call that their opportunity had arrived. The family is now safely in the U.S. awaiting the birth of their new baby.

L to R: DMRS client Elvira with HIAS volunteers in Juarez

Elvira is a mother of three from Guatemala. While in her home country, Elvira’s 9-year-old brother was kidnapped by members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang, known as MS-13. Elvira reported the kidnapping to police and demanded they investigate the gang members involved. After going to the police, Elvira was targeted by members of the gang who threatened to kill her and her family. Elvira fled to the United States to seek asylum to protect her own life and the lives of her children. Elvira and her children spent more than a year in Juarez. With the help of their DMRS attorney Valgina Rodriguez, Elvira and her children were recently processed into the United States where they are safely living with relatives. 

The values of Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services call us to help the “least among us,” and we will continue to do what we can to help our migrant brothers and sisters. Your support makes this possible. Please consider making a financial contribution at www.dmrs-ep.org/donate.

If you need help with your immigration case, contact our office at 915-532-3975 to schedule a consultation.