March 1, 2021 at 12:44 pm PST | by Michael K. Lavers
VIDEOS: Asylum seekers arrive in U.S.
A woman at a bus station in Brownsville, Texas, welcomes asylum seekers to the U.S. on Feb. 26, 2021. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Asylum seekers who had been forced to pursue their cases in Mexico began to arrive in the U.S. last week.

President Biden in January announced it would suspend enrollment in the previous administration’s Migration Protection Protocols program, known as MPP or the “remain in Mexico” program.

A transgender woman was one of the 27 asylum seekers with active MPP cases who arrived in Brownsville, Texas, on Feb. 25.

They had lived in a camp in Matamoros, a Mexican border city that is across the Rio Grande from Brownsville. Hundreds of other asylum seekers with MPP cases have arrived in Brownsville in recent days after the U.S. allowed them into the country.

Gaby Zavala, a bisexual woman who founded of Resource Center Matamoros, a group that provides assistance to asylum seekers and migrants who live in Matamoros, and Michael Benavides, a gay Brownsville resident who co-founded Team Brownsville, which also works with the aforementioned groups, are among those who continue to provide assistance to them once they arrive at Brownsville’s main bus station. Felicia Rangel-Samponaro, founder of the Sidewalk School for Children Asylum Seekers, a school created for children who live in the Matamoros camp, and Cindy Candia, a volunteer with Angry Tias and Abuelas, a group that assists asylum seekers and migrants in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, are among those who also continue to work at the bus station.

Editor’s note: The Los Angeles Blade reported from the Rio Grande Valley from Feb. 26-27.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Los Angeles Blade. Follow Michael

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