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Immigration team finds 13,000 immigrants on wait lists in Mexico to cross the border

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Cynthia Mayrena, of Nicaragua, describes how the waiting list of asylum seekers works in Matamoros, Mexico, April 30, 2019. At least 800 people were still on this list, some for two months or longer, as the U.S. severely limited the number of asylum seekers at official crossings. – AP Photo / Eric Gay

Elliot Spagat, reporter, San Diego; Nomaan Merchant, reporter, Houston; Eric Gay, photographer, San Antonio; Greg Bull, photographer, San Diego; and Patricio Espinoza, videojournalist, Phoenix, for all-format reporting across the U.S.-Mexico border, revealing that 13,000 immigrants are stuck in Mexico on haphazard wait lists that have formed as the Trump administration placed limits on how many asylum cases it accepts each day. The team visited the eight main locations where lines were forming and tallied the number of people on the various lists, finding some migrants sleeping in tents for months on end, vulnerable to violence and shakedowns. And they broke news about a family that decided to forgo the long line and cross illegally, killing four people as they were swept away by the swift-moving Rio Grande.

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A girl from the Mexican state of Michoacan displays a name and number, written in ink on her back, as she waits to apply for asylum in the United States with her mom and sister, in Tijuana, Mexico, April 25, 2019. Her mother said she wrote the information on her daughter because she feared losing track of the child if separated during the asylum application process. – AP Photo / Gregory Bull
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