As the morning light seeps into the chapel of an immigrant shelter here just blocks north of the U.S.-Mexico border, a man sleeps undisturbed on a cot, wrapped in a comforter.
The chapel doesn’t normally serve as a bedroom, but for months the rest of the rooms at the Annunciation House shelter have been full. From February to May, about 4,000 Cubans crossed over the Rio Grande River into Texas’ westernmost city. After making their way to shelters and churches, many have been sleeping in crowded, makeshift quarters on bunk beds, cots, couches and pews.
The number of Cubans coming to the U.S. has increased dramatically in the last few years. And it continues to rise, with about 77,000 Cubans entering between October 2014 and April 2016. Many are forgoing the typical route across the Florida Straits by boat to Miami and are traveling by foot, bus, boat and plane through Central America and Mexico to the Southwest border.