Asylum seekers wait on the Paso del Norte International Bridge.
The bridge, which connects El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, is a main point of entry for refugees. Each person and family we spoke to expressed the same concerns - they’d been there for 4, 5, even 6 days, with no idea when they’d be able to enter or begin the asylum process. They all mentioned being cold at night, huddled under blankets in the open air. They came from Guatemala, Honduras, and Cuba - some traveling for the past 6 months. As the administration looks to limit asylum seekers entering the United States, their futures remain bleak.
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Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday for remembering friends and family who have died. Observed with Calaveras, ofrendas, catrinas, and marionettes, the holiday is one of celebration.
In El Paso, for the first time, the holiday was marked by a Noche de Calaveras procession hosted by the El Paso Museum of Art. The fantastical parade featured mariachis, dancers, marching bands, catrinas, calavera masks, and large-scale marionettes designed by the Mexico City artist collective, Colectivo Ultima Hora.
El Paso, Texas. November 2018.
The Catholic Mass of All Souls Day offers those who believe a chance to pray for the souls of departed friends and family members. The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter of El Paso held such a mass yesterday at the Sorroco Mission, a historic building on the Mission Trail.
Nuestra Señora de la Concepción del Socorro was founded in 1682 by the Franciscan order, serving individuals from the Piro, Tano, and Jemez tribes who left what is now New Mexico during the Pueblo Revolt. In 1829 the mission was destroyed when the Rio Grande river flooded. It was rebuilt just a few years later, preserving much of the building traditions of 17th-century Spanish architecture.
Following the mass, churchgoers processed to the cemetery to conclude the ceremony. Holding candles and chanting in English, Latin, and Spanish the moment was a somber reflection on how we honor the dead.
Socorro, Texas. November 2018.
This is the scene on the Paso del Norte international bridge leading from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico to El Paso, Texas. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers stand on guard, families wait, children sleep, pedestrians hurry by at rush hour.
Seeking asylum is not against the law.
Both U.S. and international law dictate that noncitizens arriving at our borders have a right to apply for asylum and other forms of protection, yet CBP been routinely turning them away, telling noncitizens to wait because of a need for space and a lack of resources to process them.
Some wait for days, some longer, waiting to request asylum and enter the United States.
Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. November 2018.