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Tents freeze as freezing weather hits migrants near US border

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As snow and ice hit much of the southern United States, migrant communities along the US-Mexico border are experiencing freezing temperatures with limited resources.

At a migrant camp in Matamoros, Mexico, just across the border from Brownsville, Texas, blue tarp tents frosted over as a winter explosion brought freezing temperatures and freezing rain to the region this week. The water used for cooking and bathing also froze.

Many of those living in the camp wait in Mexico while their asylum claims are processed in the United States, under the Trump administration’s so-called “stay in Mexico” policy. President Joe Biden is expected to begin this week processing and admitting migrants forced to wait in Mexico under “migrant protection protocols.”

A resident of the camp, a Honduran woman named Karen, told ABC News she has been in the camp for over a year now with her two sons, aged 10 and 11.

“By the Lord’s grace, we are alive,” she said Monday in Spanish, after the camp woke up in frozen tents.

She fears that her children will get sick because of the weather, because they have experienced snow for the first time.

“Look, look. It’s snow. I never believed it,” she said. “People have told me about snow, but I never believed it – and now I do.”

Electricity has mainly been cut for two days in the city and there is no electricity at the camp. Some volunteers donated charcoal for locals to have bonfires on Monday night.

On Tuesday, several migrants ABC News spoke to broke into tears as they recounted their experiences of fleeing their home countries and living in the camp during the extreme weather conditions.

“The truth is that the weather has been quite difficult as it has come down to minus 11 degrees [Celsius] here and we couldn’t stand it, but the truth is God is great because we are still there, we keep fighting, ”said Walter, a 31-year-old Honduran who has been in the camp for almost a year. News in Spanish.

It was difficult to swim during the freezing temperatures, he said.

“I’m not going to say I’m fine, I’m not going to say I’m wrong, I feel somewhere in between because I miss living under a roof, in a bed.” But when you can’t, you can’t, ”he said in tears. “The truth is, I don’t want anyone to leave their country. But sometimes you have to leave.”

Jonathan Gutierrez from Nicaragua and Blanca Hurrutia from Honduras have a 3 week old boy together.

“Everything is a struggle here because of the conditions,” Gutierrez told ABC News in Spanish.

“The baby is going to be a month old and I’m 23 and I can barely take it, what about him?” You can imagine how much we have suffered here, ”he said, crying.

“It’s tough now with the low temperatures, even the tents are covered in ice,” Hurrutia, 19, told ABC News. “It’s hard because it’s so cold.”

As winter conditions increase in the region, record temperatures are forecast for Matamoros. Migrants can again wake up in icy tents.

Copyright 2021 ABC News Internet Ventures.

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