EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Mexican church leaders say they are seeing a large increase of people seeking asylum in the United States coming to the border city of Nuevo Laredo.

The number of migrants seeking shelter at the Casa del Migrante Nazareth began going up in January; it now stands at between 25 to 30 people per day when a year ago it was half of that, officials with the Catholic Diocese of Nuevo Laredo said at a news conference this week.

Church leaders said many new arrivals are Haitians who have made appointments through the CBP One app. Others are from Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua, news media in Mexico reported. Laredo, Texas, opposite Nuevo Laredo, is one of the cities where CBP is seeing migrants with appointments.

Bishop Enrique Sanchez and Casa Migrante Nazareth shelter Director Marvin Ajic said some of the migrants are coming from Monterrey, Mexico City and Guadalajara, Reforma reported, where they have been hunkered down for some time because of the threat of Title 42 expulsions if they try to cross the U.S. border between ports of entry.

They said an average of 90 migrants are staying at the shelter for three days, and are soon replaced by 90 new arrivals, added El Mañana.

The Rev. Marvin Ajic (Courtesy Nuevo Laredo Catholic Diocese)

“These persons made appointments with (U.S. Customs and Border Protection), so our assistance with the process is for three days,” Ajic said at the news conference. He added that two out of three new arrivals have made asylum appointments at the Laredo port of entry.

Mexican government officials estimate some 14,000 migrants might be staying in Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa and Matamoros at the moment, and are anticipating the arrival of 17,000 more this year, La Prensa reported.

Ajic said it’s hard to estimate the actual population because the migrants tend to move back and forth between the three cities. He said Nuevo Laredo likely has about half of the migrant population of Reynosa or Matamoros.

In comments rebroadcast on social media, Ajic urged migrants to seek legal advice as soon as they get a notice to appear in U.S. immigration court. 

“We have a floating population of cases that were inconclusive not because of asylum denials or deportations, but because the migrant did not present their case,” he said. “Many present themselves to their first audience without legal help. By the time they seek legal help, it is too late.”

Church officials say they have come in contact with many Haitians who not only suffered from crime and injustices in their country, but also in third countries they traveled on their way to the U.S.-Mexico border. 

“They are very resilient,” Ajic said.