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The future of migrants in El Paso remains uncertain as border restrictions continue

An asylum-seeking migrant woman from Peru in a wheelchair is escorted through the border wall to be processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after crossing the Rio Grande into the United States in El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 21.
Jim Urquhart for NPR
An asylum-seeking migrant woman from Peru in a wheelchair is escorted through the border wall to be processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after crossing the Rio Grande into the United States in El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 21.

In the past two weeks, the Texas National Guard has increased its militarized footprint with Humvees, razor wire and personnel stationed with rifles along the border with Mexico.

Migrants have traveled hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to the El Paso/Juárez border in a search of a better life. Some were carrying their children in their arms and on their backs.

There are migrants on the streets and around the churches of El Paso's old downtown and in other border towns. The vast majority are turning themselves over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection seeking asylum.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration's attempt to lift the pandemic border restrictions, known as Title 42, and agreed to decide in its February argument session. The restriction allows immigration authorities to quickly expel many migrants without allowing them to apply for asylum while in the U.S.

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Asylum-seeking migrants walk to where they can go through the border wall and be processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after crossing the Rio Grande into the United States in El Paso, Texas, on Thursday.
/ Jim Urquhart for NPR
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Jim Urquhart for NPR
Asylum-seeking migrants walk to where they can go through the border wall and be processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after crossing the Rio Grande into the United States in El Paso, Texas, on Thursday.
Children watch as members of the Texas National Guard stop a group of asylum-seeking migrants, that the children are a part of, from crossing the border in El Paso on Dec. 21.
/ Jim Urquhart for NPR
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Jim Urquhart for NPR
Children watch as members of the Texas National Guard stop a group of asylum-seeking migrants, that the children are a part of, from crossing the border in El Paso on Dec. 21.
Migrant crosses the Rio Grande River into the United States in El Paso, Texas, U.S., Dec. 30, 2022.
/ Jim Urquhart for NPR
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Jim Urquhart for NPR
Migrant crosses the Rio Grande River into the United States in El Paso, Texas, U.S., Dec. 30, 2022.
Migrants wait to be escorted around the border wall to be processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after crossing the Rio Grande River into the United States in El Paso, Texas, U.S., Dec. 30, 2022.
/ Jim Urquhart for NPR
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Jim Urquhart for NPR
Migrants wait to be escorted around the border wall to be processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after crossing the Rio Grande River into the United States in El Paso, Texas, U.S., Dec. 30, 2022.
Migrants are given water at the border wall by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after crossing the Rio Grande River into the United States in El Paso, Texas, U.S., Dec. 30, 2022.
/ Jim Urquhart for NPR
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Jim Urquhart for NPR
Migrants are given water at the border wall by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after crossing the Rio Grande River into the United States in El Paso, Texas, U.S., Dec. 30, 2022.
Unsheltered migrants gather for food on Wednesday near El Paso's Sacred Heart Church after crossing the Rio Grande.
/ Jim Urquhart for NPR
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Jim Urquhart for NPR
Unsheltered migrants gather for food on Wednesday near El Paso's Sacred Heart Church after crossing the Rio Grande.
An unsheltered migrant family from Venezuela lays covered in blankets on the sidewalk in front of Sacred Heart Church on Wednesday.
/ Jim Urquhart for NPR
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Jim Urquhart for NPR
An unsheltered migrant family from Venezuela lays covered in blankets on the sidewalk in front of Sacred Heart Church on Wednesday.
A fire smolders to keep asylum-seeking migrants warm as they wait to be escorted around the border wall to be processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after crossing the Rio Grande River into the United States in El Paso, Texas, U.S., Dec. 30, 2022.
/ Jim Urquhart for NPR
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Jim Urquhart for NPR
A fire smolders to keep asylum-seeking migrants warm as they wait to be escorted around the border wall to be processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after crossing the Rio Grande River into the United States in El Paso, Texas, U.S., Dec. 30, 2022.
Migrants wait at the border wall to be processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Dec. 21 after crossing the Rio Grande.
/ Jim Urquhart for NPR
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Jim Urquhart for NPR
Migrants wait at the border wall to be processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Dec. 21 after crossing the Rio Grande.
The Texas National Guard monitors a small stretch of the Rio Grande and have lined it with razor wire as they attempt to stop asylum-seeking migrants from crossing into the United States in El Paso on Dec. 21.
/ Jim Urquhart for NPR
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Jim Urquhart for NPR
The Texas National Guard monitors a small stretch of the Rio Grande and have lined it with razor wire as they attempt to stop asylum-seeking migrants from crossing into the United States in El Paso on Dec. 21.
An asylum-seeking migrant from Ecuador holds her son on Wednesday as she waits at the border wall to be processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after crossing the Rio Grande in El Paso.
/ Jim Urquhart for NPR
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Jim Urquhart for NPR
An asylum-seeking migrant from Ecuador holds her son on Wednesday as she waits at the border wall to be processed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection after crossing the Rio Grande in El Paso.
A Venezuelan flag is left by migrants near the border wall in El Paso on Thursday.
/ Jim Urquhart for NPR
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Jim Urquhart for NPR
A Venezuelan flag is left by migrants near the border wall in El Paso on Thursday.
Undocumented migrants from Venezuela are detained on Wednesday by the Texas National Guard and law enforcement after crossing the Rio Grande.
/ Jim Urquhart for NPR
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Jim Urquhart for NPR
Undocumented migrants from Venezuela are detained on Wednesday by the Texas National Guard and law enforcement after crossing the Rio Grande.
The Texas National Guard have expanded their footprint east along the Rio Grande on the border.
/ Jim Urquhart for NPR
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Jim Urquhart for NPR
The Texas National Guard have expanded their footprint east along the Rio Grande on the border.
An unsheltered asylum-seeking migrant from Venezuela (right) has her eyebrows done by another  migrant from Colombia on the sidewalk near Sacred Heart Church on Thursday.
/ Jim Urquhart for NPR
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Jim Urquhart for NPR
An unsheltered asylum-seeking migrant from Venezuela (right) has her eyebrows done by another migrant from Colombia on the sidewalk near Sacred Heart Church on Thursday.
Migrants gather near Sacred Heart Church on Thursday.
/ Jim Urquhart for NPR
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Jim Urquhart for NPR
Migrants gather near Sacred Heart Church on Thursday.
A migrant lays covered in blankets in front of Sacred Heart Church (left) on Wednesday while another lays on the floor of a bus meant to allow people to warm themselves after crossing the Rio Grande.
/ Jim Urquhart for NPR
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Jim Urquhart for NPR
A migrant lays covered in blankets in front of Sacred Heart Church (left) on Wednesday while another lays on the floor of a bus meant to allow people to warm themselves after crossing the Rio Grande.

Jim Urquhart
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