PoliticsImmigration48 Hours on the Border


Nightfall in Nogales: The challenges migrants face at the border

In Nogales, Mexico, many migrants are left without food or shelter as they wait for their chance to escape violence and be granted asylum in the U.S.
Posted at 2:12 PM, Mar 14, 2024

As nightfall arrives in Nogales, Mexico, many standing in line continue to wait for asylum, often without any shelter or food. But tonight they are not alone.

Pastor Ramon Montoya with The Church on the Street comes from "el otro lado (the other side)," referring to Phoenix, Arizona. He and a small army of volunteers joined forces with Nogales city officials and social workers to help those in need.

"We're [going to] go out on the streets right now. We are in Nogales, Sonora," Montoya told Scripps News Phoenix. "We are going to have a police escort, and we're going to go visit the hot spots where there's a lot of homeless."

What happens in the first 48 hours after migrants arrive in the US?
Migrants arriving in New York City.

What happens in the first 48 hours after migrants arrive in the US?

Texas has sent buses full of migrants to Democrat-run cities like Washington, Chicago, Denver and New York City to highlight the border crisis.


Among those waiting in line are people hoping to follow a newly established legal path for asylum. To do so, they apply online, are assigned a number and have to wait for their number to be called.

"La gente viene de Guatemala, Honduras (Most come from countries like Guatemala, Honduras)" and other countries, said one of the Nogales police officers escorting the pastor's group. Scripps News Phoenix also met with a woman named Selene who applied for asylum and was in line attempting to escape violence and crime in Mexico.

When asked how long she has waited in line, Selene said "siete meses (seven months)."

When speaking with Selene in February, she believed her number was about three days away from being called. But she said if her number comes up and she is not here, she will lose her turn and start all over again.

A migrant's journey to the US border
Scripps News Phoenix Correspondent Nick Ciletti speaks with a migrant who recently crossed into the U.S.

A migrant's journey to the US border

The journey alone for migrants to get to the U.S.-Mexico border can be long and dangerous, but for many it's only the beginning.


For those waiting, all it takes to make many smile gratefully is a cup of coffee or a cup of soup and bread.

"In the last year and a half we have served over 4,800 cups of coffee," said Pastor Montoya. "It's cold but you know what, it's just the smile, the kids there, some soup. They haven't had anything to eat all day. It's a blessing."

Although many people, like Selene, continue to wait for their chance to cross the border, it takes U.S. citizens just minutes to walk back across.

This story was originally published by Patricio Espinoza at Scripps News Phoenix.