Thousands of migrants are flooded around Sacred Heart Church in downtown El Paso, Texas, located a stone's throw away from the US-Mexico border, previewing a small piece of the chaos that may ensue once the Title 42 expulsion policy ends next week, APA reports citing Sputnik.
A massive surge of illegal immigration is expected to overwhelm the US southern border after the Trump-era public health emergency order - which allowed the US government to turn away migrants at the border to prevent the spread of COVID-19 - is set to expire on May 11.
Several migrants who talked to Sputnik believe it will be more difficult to gain entry into the United States once Title 42 ends because restrictions may tighten under other US immigration authorities.
Thousands of migrants sleep outside under blankets set up as tents around the church under conditions that are not hygienic. Although there are portable restrooms located nearby, portions of the makeshift camp around the church smell of urine.
An El Paso Police Department officer told Sputnik there are an estimated 1,700 migrants outside the premises of the church.
"We've had to sleep outside of the church, honestly it's been hard," Manuel Godoy, 38, of Venezuela, told Sputnik. "This is the life we were given, but we have a dream and have to fight for it."
Many of the migrants at the church are waiting to acquire additional immigration or travel documents from US immigration authorities, according to Godoy.
The migrants are mostly young adult men from Venezuela, a mix of documented and undocumented, but several dozen women and children are seen in the area as well. Migrants, Godoy said, began to gather at the church about a month ago, but the heavy presence began to form last week.