Carefully treading a crossing of slippery stones strung across the shallow Rio Grande between Ciudad Juárez and El Paso, trickles of migrants climbed up the embankment on the U.S. side.
Joining with others who had crossed from down river, the asylum seekers waited peacefully to surrender to U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. Watching the evolving ritual were a gaggle of Mexican journalists and local residents. A young man from Venezuela with one leg hopped around on crutches while a pair of municipal cops observed the drama from a parked truck. Standing atop the Mexican embankment, a young girl gazed across the narrow river at the forming line of asylum seekers of all ages, tears welling up in her sad eyes.