Sunday, June 13, 2021

Migrants Families Pressure Biden to Confront the New Border Crisis

President Biden’s first immigration crisis has begun as thousands of families have made their way towards the Southwestern border in the past few weeks with the hopes of a friendlier reception.

More than 1,000 people who were detained have now been released after the reversal of some Trump’s executive orders. Now many more people gather on the Mexican side, aggravating conditions there and testing America’s ability and willingness to admit migrants during a pandemic.

According to lawyers and aid groups, new families everyday have been collecting in Mexican border towns, sleeping in the streets, under bridges, and in dry ditches. Migrant camp in Matamoros, Mexico, just across a bridge from Texas, has boomed to 1,000 people over the past few weeks.

In order to guard against COVID-19, health authorities in San Diego have arranged housing for hundreds of arriving migrants in a downtown high-rise hotel, where they are being quarantined before being allowed to join family or friends in the U.S. The surge of migrants poses the first major test for President Biden’s pledge to adopt a more compassionate policy along the U.S border with Mexico.

Former President Trump imposed a requirement that asylum seekers must wait in Mexico until their requests were approved or denied. But in recent days, Mexico has begun enforcing a law passed in November that bans holding children under 12 years old in government custody. As a result, it has stopped accepting Central American families with young children back into Mexico, forcing the U.S. to keep them.

In order to avoid holding large numbers of people in immigrant detention centers during a health crisis, Border Patrol has been releasing some of them to join their families and friends in the U.S. Health authorities in San Diego have ruled that those migrants crossing into California must remain at a hotel for 10 days before being allowed to go onward. However, there is no similar quarantine requirement in Texas for migrants who arrive with no COVID-19 symptoms.

President Biden stated before taking office that he would not immediately open the border in hopes to avoid a rush of migration. On Feb.2, he signed an executive order that directed a full review of the asylum process, but administration officials have said changes to the current system would take time.

New York Times