CIUDAD JUAREZ (MEXICO) (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 03rd November, 2018) More than a hundred asylum-seeking migrants were huddled in blankets on a cold night on the Mexico side of the Paso del Norte International Bridge, just steps away from the Texas city of El Paso.
The group on the bridge arrived as a US-bound migrant caravan from Central America has drawn the wrath of US President Donald Trump who deployed thousands of troops to protect the southern border. In a press conference on Thursday, Trump called on the caravan to turn back. The intense rhetoric over immigration comes just ahead of the November 6 US midterm elections.
The migrants interviewed requested anonymity to avoid jeopardizing their applications for asylum and quashing their hopes of starting a new life in the United States.
One Cuban immigrant told Sputnik that he finally arrived at the US border after a two-year journey.
"I'm nervous, but happy because finally we're here," the man said. "It's still not complete, but we've arrived to where we are just one step away to our goal."
Just a couple of steps away were three American immigration officials armed with long rifles standing on the US side of the bridge. These US immigration officials usually only have sidearms.
"I haven't seen much of what's going on in the news because we've been traveling," the man from Cuba said when asked about Trump's immigration policies. "I've heard some stuff, but I guess everyone puts in their own laws. Having control of immigration would be a good thing."
Martin, a volunteer with the Mexican Red Cross, told Sputnik there were about 140 immigrants waiting on the Mexican side of the international bridge waiting for their turn to enter the United States to apply for asylum. Among the group were children and pregnant women, he added.
"I believe US authorities should support the immigrants," Martin said. "They come from other countries with poverty that lack basic needs. They're treated badly."
Another Cuban immigrant seeking political asylum told Sputnik his journey took nine months to reach the US border.
"In Cuba, it's the police," he said when asked of what dangers he's fleeing. "If I went back to Cuba at this moment they'd put me in jail and in jail it's very difficult. It's possible they could kill you."
When asked if Trump's immigration policies could deter immigrants from coming to the United States, he said the issue is complicated. However, he did support the notion that these immigration groups such as the caravan do have bad people.
"There isn't a lot of work for us where we're from," the man told Sputnik. "That's why we came here suddenly. Hopefully there's an opportunity to come into the United States and look for work because over there in Guatemala the wages are low and it's not enough to sustain ourselves. We came looking to see where we can sustain a family."
"The journey is always a risk, it's a fight and a risk to your life, but you need to do what you can even if it's painful," the man said. "Here we are. We never thought we'd be here... we came out of necessity."
The Guatemalan man along with the others camped at the bridge have no certainties their efforts will be fruitful.
Mexican officials said the caravan making its way towards the US border has around 3,600 migrants while the UN put the number at more than 7,000. Trump has said the caravan includes criminals and unknown middle Easterners.