Asylum seekers in Nogales hold vigil after Title 42 news

By Alisa Reznick
Published: Tuesday, May 24, 2022 - 8:39am
Updated: Tuesday, May 24, 2022 - 2:09pm

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Alisa Reznick/KJZZ
An asylum seeker from Honduras recites a prayer during a vigil held by migrants in Nogales on Monday, May 23, the day Title 42 border restrictions were supposed to end.

On Friday, a federal judge in Louisiana ruled in favor of Arizona and a host of other Republican-led states that are part of a lawsuit to keep pandemic-era border restrictions in place. Title 42, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocol that keeps migrants and asylum seekers out because of COVID-19, was set to end Monday.

That morning, people came and went through the Nogales border crossing, and about a dozen migrants who’d been freshly expelled under Title 42 carried their belongings in plastic bags. 

But this week was supposed to be different for people like Mari, an asylum seeker who's been at the border for the better part of a year after fleeing violence in southern Mexico last July. We’re using only her first name to protect her safety. She was with other asylum seekers when she heard Title 42 wasn't ending after all. 

"Crying, crying, the majority were crying when they heard this bad news," she said. Mari is one of hundreds who have been waiting to start the asylum process in the United States in Nogales over the last few years.

She and other families staged an all-day vigil near the border crossing Monday to talk about how the restrictions have affected them.  Mari said she and other organizers would use the event to have their voices heard, despite the ruling. Around 400 asylum seekers and their supporters shared stories, recited prayers and sang songs. 

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