Though last week saw the end of Title 42—a public health rule used to block people from seeking asylum—existing immigration laws and new asylum restrictions threaten to prolong the challenges faced by migrants and asylum seekers at the US southern border.
For years, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières teams have been working in border cities and witnessing the impact of these policies on migrants’ physical and mental health. As the crisis at the US border turns a page, we're revisiting below some of the people we’ve met along the way—people with their own hopes, experiences, and stories to tell.
“I want to go to school and study so I can achieve my dreams,” said Mara, a 13-year-old Haitian girl we met at the Kaleo shelter in Reynosa, Mexico. Mara and her family left Haiti three years ago and crossed more than 10 countries in the Americas to reach the US border, seeking asylum. ”I want to be a nurse,” she told us.
Dalila, 29, was pregnant when she and her husband left Haiti and traveled through several countries in search of safety and dignity in the United States. She gave birth to her daughter, Blandina, soon after they crossed into Mexico. When our team met them, they were living at Senda de Vida migrant shelter in Reynosa while awaiting an opportunity to seek asylum.
José María, 31, fled threats and extortion in Honduras. He applied for asylum in Mexico and was rejected. He also suffered abuse and physical violence at the hands of Mexican and US authorities. When we met José María, he was living in fear in Mexico as he waited for another chance to seek asylum.
“We’re sleeping in the street, where anything can happen to us,” said Wisly, a 36-year-old we met at Senda de Vida migrant shelter in Mexico. ”I’m told we’re in a dangerous area.”
Wisly left Haiti with his wife and two young children seeking better opportunities to support his family. After arriving in Mexico, they stayed in an informal migrant camp in a public plaza until it was evacuated and cleared, temporarily leaving Wisly and his family without shelter.
Amanda, 28, fled Honduras with her children, aged two and three, due to threats to their safety. After crossing the Rio Grande in February 2022, they were deported by US authorities under Title 42.