Immigration Law

What ‘Metering’ Really Looks Like in South Texas

Stephanie Leutert, Lawfare, July 17, 2019

"Thirty-two Cubans line the international bridge connecting Roma, Texas, with Ciudad Miguel Alemán, Tamaulipas. The Cubans sit one after another on the Mexican side of the bridge, checking their phones, chatting amongst themselves, and switching positions to stay out of the sun, where the temperature tops 100 degrees. Yet, above all, they are waiting. As the days pass, they wait for their number to be called and for the opportunity to step beyond the midpoint barrier into U.S. territory and ask for asylum.

These Cubans are among an estimated 18,000 people waiting along the U.S.-Mexico border due to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) “metering” policy. I met them and others during a trip two and a half weeks ago to five Mexican border cities—Matamoros, Nuevo Progreso, Reynosa, Ciudad Miguel Alemán, and Nuevo Laredo—to document metering dynamics in these cities and the asylum seekers’ living conditions. I found that the process is varied and nontransparent, and many asylum seekers are waiting in crowded, unsanitary conditions. ..."