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On the Gateway to the Americas International Bridge on November 14, U.S. President Donald Trump’s new asylum policy had already begun to take effect. Laura, a mother of two from Nicaragua, stood on the pavement over the Rio Grande between Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and Laredo, Texas, and pulled a knit hat tight over her ears. The temperature had dropped below freezing the night before, and she and her children had been waiting there, suspended between two countries, for three days.

“They said that they were going to let us through but that it’s full inside,” she said as she looked toward the Customs and Border Protection agents standing ten feet ahead, in the center of the bridge, checking documents. A dozen adults and small children were bundled up, single-file, in front of her. It was gusty, and they had tied their blankets to the side of the bridge

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