I have to say, this is the thing that hit me hardest in Matamoros. You have thousands of people stuck there. Right on the border two big governments: The United States and Mexico. One of them of course a lot richer than the other. And nobody is looking out for these people. Food, water and shelter. Except for a bunch of volunteers that raised their hands and say: “We cannot ignore this”.
Generally they tried to get the volunteers out of the camp by nightfall. Cause Matamoros isn’t safe. Cartels are here. City has one of the highest kidnapping rates in Mexico according to the United States State department. Its webpage about Matamoros says: “Murder, car jacking, and sexual assault are common. Gang gun battles are wide spread. Anybody here is at high risk.”
How much violence there is against people in this camp is not clear. The nurse, Helen Perry, has heard about people being kidnapped from the camp but that is hard to confirm. And she told me this story. “When I first showed up in the camp a woman came up to me and asked me if we were bringing in condomns because when she got sexually asaulted again, she wanted to ask her attacker to wear a comdomn so she wouldn’t get pregnant.”
Doug Stevens says people don’t understand how hard the job is. At the time this all started he was an assylum officer in San Francisco. “And so I have people come to my office and my jobs essentially is: ‘Tell me the worst things that have happened to you. You have an hour. Go! And then I’ll decide if you are telling the truth, and I’ll decide if you get to stay’”
It’s like as assylum seekers were traveling through Mexico fleeing for their lives they should have been gathering evidence of all the screwed up things happening to them. Making a paper trail. And they should have had all this evidence on them right then, right after crossing the border. Which of course, is next to impossible.
So, he had tried to find a place to live there. Had tried to get a work permit in Mexico. And he was denied. And as he was transitting, he is talking about encountering cartels. And witnessing other migrants being tortured and murdered in front of his son. And fleeing and barely getting away while death threats are being shouted at him. And his son having nightmares for weeks because of this. And then, they get stopped by the police. And the police takes all of their money and cellphones. And because I cannot get them to say these magic words: ‘They threatened me because I’m Honduran’ But that’s all they have to say. But they don’t know that.
The department of homeland security says only about 960 people interviewed have not being sent back to Mexico. Ultimately of a little more than 47,000 NPP cases registered as of October  with about 37,000 of those still pending, of those only 11 people have been granted asylum or some other kind of relief according to Syracuse University which tracks all this using government statistics.