American residents and citizens who live in Ciudad Juárez are taking advantage of their status to cross to the United States and be vaccinated. But the health authorities in El Paso are not keeping records of people from Ciudad Juárez who have benefitted from this.
Health authorities in the Mexican state of Chihuahua said it is hard to determine the exact number of residents in Ciudad Juárez who have been vaccinated in El Paso since a large percentage of the population has dual nationality, Mexican and American.
By René Kladzyk and Maria Ramos Pacheco/El Paso Matters and Veronica Martinez/La Verdad
First of a three-part series
Running children and crying babies create a cacophony at El Buen Samaritano shelter, but in a far corner, Carmela holds her 2-year-old in silence. She can’t communicate with anyone — she doesn’t know Spanish, and no one at the facility can understand the Indigenous language she speaks. Indigenous migrants like Carmela encounter extra hurdles in attempting to reach the United States: communication difficulties, cultural barriers and anti-Indigenous discrimination. In this three-part series, we’ll trace the path of a migration journey from Guatemala, investigating the challenges that Indigenous migrants face at every stage. Part one looks at migration drivers and the arduous journey across Mexico; part two discusses added barriers at the U.S. border as Indigenous migrants interact with immigration officials; and part three centers on the struggles Indigenous migrants face in shelters in Juárez and how they’re rendered invisible in U.S. immigration courts.
Nathaly Gonzalez crosses from El Paso to Ciudad Juárez a couple times a week. She brings groceries to her grandparents — they prefer the bulk foods sold on the U.S. side. She visits her brother and takes her dog to the vet.
Gonzalez and her mother are dual U.S.-Mexican citizens and live in El Paso; her brother and grandparents are Mexican citizens and live in Ciudad Juárez.
Things have changed significantly for Gonzalez and her family since the COVID-19 travel restrictions went into effect on March 21, 2020, but she still crosses with ease, regardless of whether her reasons for crossing could be defined as “essential.”