Migrants are still crossing the border to escape danger at home, despite Trump's policies

Activists and immigrants themselves don't think Trump's family separation policy was actually deterring people from crossing the border

JUAREZ, Chihuahua — President Trump’s executive order barring migrants families from being separated at the border was welcome news to recent deportees and those preparing to cross illegally at a shelter in Juarez just miles from the Texas border. Still, many in Juarez doubt any change in U.S. policy will slow the flow of migrants from Mexico and Central America each summer.

That’s how bad things are at home for many migrant families.


Israel Rojas, 32, was deported outside of Matamoros last week and arrived in Juarez on Wednesday, a floral-pattern suitcase in tow. It was his fourth deportation. His next arrest for illegal entry could send him to prison for 3-5 years.

Instead of risking another border crossing, he sent money to help his wife and four children moved from Virginia to El Paso, Texas. He’s looking for houses across the border, in Juarez, but worries about the violence. His family will visit him on weekends.

"Over here, you might not see your children for a while, but at least you'll reunite with them,” Rojas told VICE News. “Over there, you and your children are in risk of getting killed."

News of recent policy like Trump’s “zero tolerance” treatment of first-time border crossers hasn’t necessarily reached migrants in Central America en route to the U.S, While child separation was a horror, said Casa del Migrante shelter director Blanca Rivera. “Their willingness to migrate doesn't change,” Rivera said. “They all still have hopes and dreams in their minds, and they want to try and follow them no matter what."

"No matter what they do, migration will keep happening," Rojas said. "People will keep trying to enter the United States."

This segment originally aired June 20, 2018, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.