The sun was rising on Friday, and Antonio, 51 years old, began gathering his belongings to say goodbye at an enormous migrant shelter outside of Tijuana.

From 2020 Title 42A public health measure that was implemented in the midst of the pandemic allowed the border authorities to quickly expel illegal migrants. The influx of migrants arriving and the limited number of appointments for asylum have resulted in a large waiting list of people at border communities such as Tijuana.

On Friday, Antonio’s family was part of the first group of asylum seekers processed after the expiration of Title 42 The 12th of May is a day to celebrate.

Schedule an It was two years and half ago that I received my appointment. After months of trying, they finally got one using CBP One, a mobile app created by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The Times interviewed many migrants who described this app as It is glitchy, and difficult to use.

Every day, approximately 1,600 migrants share the facility. They sleep side-by-side on mattresses, mats and bunkbeds. Many like Antonio are internally displaced Mexicans fleeing the growing presence of cartels in southwestern states like Guerrero and Michoacán.

“In Michoacán, it is very hard to live peacefully,” Antonio speaks in Spanish “You walk down the street and suddenly you’re in the middle of a shooting.”

The family came to Tijuana in 2020 to seek asylum after Antonio’s son, then 16 years old, was kidnapped by gang members and held for ransom. After Antonio’s brother was also kidnapped, the family decided to flee. Three years have passed since his brother was last seen.

Around 10 a.m., Antonio’s family waited in line nervously with around 100 other migrants who had also received appointments that day.

“I’m happy because this is the culmination of a process we began a long time ago,” Antonio remarked minutes before entering. “Now the fear is that we don’t know what happens next.”

Aline Corpus has contributed to the reporting. Axel Boada contributed video editing.