Even as thousands more migrants crammed shelters on Mexico’s border with the United States on Friday, an appeals court ruling confirmed that restrictions that have kept hundreds of thousands of migrants from requesting asylum in the United States in recent years would expire in a couple of days.
Unless further appeals are filed, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision implies that Title 42 limitations will be eliminated on Wednesday as planned.
The former president’s asylum limits were implemented at the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, and a coalition of 19 Republican-leaning states fought to maintain them in place. Since March 2020, the United States has turned away 2.5 million asylum seekers because they risk spreading COVID-19. Many asylum-seekers are waiting it out in Mexico because of the country’s poor health infrastructure.
Immigrant rights lawyers filed to nullify Title 42 because the United States was betraying its historical and moral obligation to provide sanctuary to persons fleeing persecution anywhere in the world. Others have pointed out that vaccines and other treatments render this line of reasoning irrelevant and have accused Trump of using the bans as a smokescreen to limit immigration.
An impartial judge ruled in their favor last month, giving the federal government until December 21 to halt the policy. Intervention in the case had been sought by conservative states who were fighting to maintain Title 42. Unfortunately, a three-judge panel ruled against the conditions on Friday night, finding that they had waited too long. The Attorney General of Louisiana stated his dissatisfaction with the ruling and promised to appeal to the Supreme Court.
The Biden administration predicts that easing asylum restrictions will increase the daily influx of migrants into border areas like El Paso, Texas. The head of migrant affairs for Mexico’s largest city, Enrique Lucero, stated last week that over 5,000 individuals are being housed in Tijuana’s more than 30 shelters.
Nearly 300 migrants, mostly families, slept in the Casa del Migrante in Reynosa, Mexico (close to McAllen, Texas), on bunk beds, and even on the floor.
Rose and her two children, ages 1 and 3, have been staying at the shelter for three weeks. Rose is 32 years old and from Haiti. Rose, who did not give her last name for fear of retaliation, claimed that she had learned about potential changes to U.S. policies along the way. She stated that she would not mind staying in Mexico for a while longer to wait for the reversal of the restrictions instituted at the start of the pandemic, and they have become a pillar of U.S. border enforcement.
Rose is afraid that if she makes a mistake in her attempt to bring her family to the United States, she will be deported back to Haiti. “We’re concerned since the Haitians are deported.” About 3,000 migrants currently reside in tents on concrete slabs and gravel inside Senda de Vida 2, a Reynosa shelter opened by an evangelical Christian pastor after his last cover was filled. Even in the middle of December, the sun is intensely warm, and flies are abundant.
Such shelters provide at least some protection from the gangs that control transit over the Rio Grande and prey on travelers for those fleeing turmoil in Haiti and Venezuela. Thursday, around a hundred migrants who had evaded asylum rules slept on mats in a big hall sponsored by Catholic Charities in McAllen, Texas, before being transported to their loved ones scattered across the United States.
At eight months pregnant, Gloria, a 22-year-old Honduran, clutched a paper stating, “Please assist me.” “I am not fluent in English. Also, fearing for her safety, Gloria did not want her last name used. She was nervous about traveling to Florida alone, where she knows someone through family ties and navigating the airport.
Brownsville, Texas, is located over the border from Matamoros, Mexico. Andrea Rudnik, the co-founder of a migrant welcome association, was concerned about providing enough warm winter jackets for migrants traveling from warmer regions. On Friday, she lamented, “We don’t have enough supplies.” She went on to say that donations to Team Brownsville have decreased, which has led to this shortage.
Title 42, a section of a public health law passed in 1944, applies to all nationalities but has been enforced more harshly against those whom Mexico agrees to take back, including Guatemalans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, and, most recently, Venezuelans. Last Friday, a Justice Department court filing noted a decrease in illegal border crossings by unaccompanied adults in November but did not explain why. And it didn’t consider families taking small kids on the road or kids going it alone.
The number of times Border Patrol agents stopped unaccompanied adults along the Mexican border dropped to 143,903 in November, the lowest monthly total since August. This was a 9% decrease from the 158,639 stops in October. After Mexicans, Nicaraguans surpassed Cubans as the most excellent nationality of single adults crossing the border.
After Mexico’s decision on October 12 to accept migrants from the South American country who were ejected from the U.S., the number of unaccompanied Venezuelan adults intercepted by Border Patrol agents dropped to 3,513 in November from 14,697 the previous month.
In November, police officers made 43,504 stops of adult males, most of whom were Mexican. This is a decrease from the 56,088 stops made in October. An increase from 16,497 to 27,369 adult Nicaraguans being detained is reported. An increase from 20,744 to 24,690 adult Cubans being detained can be seen.
Relatedly, a federal judge in Amarillo, Texas, ruled on Thursday that the Biden administration improperly reversed a Trump-era policy that required asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico during their hearings in U.S. immigration court. The decision did not have any immediate effects, but it could be a long-term setback for the White House.
The Biden administration will try to promote legal channels for migrants while discouraging “disorderly and hazardous migration,” according to White House spokesperson Abdullah Hasan.
After the Title 42 public health order was lifted, he clarified, “To be clear: the withdrawal of the order does not imply the border is open.” Smugglers who propagate false information to take advantage of vulnerable migrants are the ones who benefit from it.
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