Even before the Supreme Court of the United States made its decision on Tuesday to uphold a policy that is intended to discourage illegal border crossings, hundreds of migrants in northern Mexico were already taking matters into their own hands in order to sneak into the United States.
The controversial law known as Title 42, passed during the epidemic era, was scheduled to expire on December 21. Still, last-minute judicial stays threw border policy into disarray, leading many migrants to conclude that they had little to lose by crossing the border.
Rather than wait out the uncertainties of the legal tug-of-war in U.S. courts, groups of migrants from Venezuela and other nations targeted by Title 42 decided to break for it after spending days in frigid border communities. The migrants were fleeing from the United States.
“We ran, and we hid until we managed to make it,” said Jhonatan, a Venezuelan migrant who crossed the border from the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez into El Paso, Texas, on Monday night with his wife and five children, ranging in age from three to sixteen. Jhonatan’s wife is from Venezuela, and his children range in age from three to sixteen.
Jhonatan, who only provided his first name and spoke to us over the phone, claimed that he had spent several months in Mexico and had no intention of entering the United States illegally. But the idea of failing after he had brought his family through the dangerous forests of Darien in Panama, all the way up through Central America, and into Mexico was more than he could stomach.
Reuters reported that he said the following: “It would be the last straw to get here, and then they send us back to Venezuela.” A judge’s judgment to invalidate Title 42 was put on hold by the United States Supreme Court on Tuesday after it granted a request by a coalition of Republican state attorneys general to put the ruling on hold. They stated that removing it would lead to an increase in the number of people crossing the border.
During its session in February, the court announced that it would hear arguments regarding whether or not the states could participate in defense of Title 42. It is anticipated that a decision will be made before the end of June.
Last week, photographs from Reuters showed migrants running across a major highway alongside the border. One of the migrants was barefoot and holding a little child; this dangerous crossing worries advocates for migrants.
According to Fernando Garcia, director of the Border Network for Human Rights, “We’re talking about people that come to request asylum, and they’re still crossing the border in precarious ways.” According to John Martin, the deputy director of the Opportunity Center for the Homeless in El Paso, the majority of the migrants that his shelter has taken in are individuals who crossed the border illegally, including a large number of Venezuelans.
He stated, “At one time, the majority were documented; now I’m seeing it reverse.” “At one point, the majority were documented.” The CBP records reveal that the El Paso area of the agency was registering over 2,500 daily migrant interactions in the middle of December. Still, that number dropped through Christmas to just a little more than half of that by the time the court ruling was made.
A Venezuelan migrant in Ciudad Juarez who identified himself as Antonio on Tuesday, before the Supreme Court handed down the decision, stated that he was waiting to see whether or not the United States would relax its surveillance of the border in the hopes of earning money there to send back to his family in Venezuela.
He stated that if they did not repeal Title 42, “we would continue entering the country illegally.” Other migrants at other locations along the border have expressed the belief that they are out of choices at this point.
Cesar, a Venezuelan migrant in Tijuana who did not disclose his last name, explained why he had attempted to cross the border barrier to getting into the United States of America before and planned to try to do so again. Cesar stated, “We don’t have a future in Mexico.” Cesar did not give his last name.
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