The two faces of Biden: “Humanizes” borders and criminalizes migrants
BY carlos matías
On January 5, Joe Biden’s administration announced new measures for an expansion of the humanitarian parole process, while applying Donald Trump’s Title 42, extended to expel immigrants arriving in the USA from Mexico.
Some of the measures have gone into effect; others will do so soon and the rest when Title 42 expires. But they all fall short of the humanitarian emergency of those overcrowded at the Mexican border.
The worst conclusion is that Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous novel “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” has come to life in the White House. Joe Biden “Jekyll” announces “open-minded” immigration changes and the processing of 30,000 asylum requests each month, at an average of one thousand per day. Joe Biden “Hyde” remains unmoved by his predecessor’s Title 42 and applies it expanded to expel another 30,000 migrants per month, that is, another thousand per day.
The Supreme Court ordered the extension of Trump’s Title 42 on December 19, only two days before its expiration (the 21st). Trump instituted it in March 2020, under the pretext of preventing the spread of Covid. But for almost three years, Biden has allowed the expulsion “without taking the time to consider” immigrants individual situations arriving at the border with Mexico.
“Because of this expansion of Title 42, most of the citizens of Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Haiti will be expelled to Mexico, a country that will receive these 30,000 monthly expulsions. Elyssa Pachico, communications director at Alianza Americas, explains to Sol de Medianoche. Alianza Américas is the main transnational advocacy network of Latin American migrant organizations in the United States, the Americas, and the world.
Nineteen Republican states wanted to extend Title 42. They claimed a border collapse and the negative impact on their territories. Biden wanted to put an end to it, but he was not effective. The United States continues to detain thousands of people and deports them in a few minutes to their points of origin, where they can be persecuted, mistreated, beaten, tortured, raped, or executed.
For Alianza Americas, the measures announced by Biden are a step towards regular migration. They extended the parole program to Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua, allowing them to apply for protection or stay in the country for two years, with a work permit obtained as a result of the processing of one of the 30,000 monthly asylum applications submitted. But they are insufficient, considering the number of people who have been forced to leave their countries and these measures only apply to the four nationalities mentioned.
Other actions will affect a much broader range of migrants, specifically the rule that anyone who travels through a third country before arriving in the United States, and without first seeking protection there, will not be eligible to apply for asylum in the U.S., although the Department of Homeland Security has announced exceptions.
The requirements make filing an asylum claim nearly impossible and very costly for most migrants. “These measures are aimed at limiting and stopping entry into the United States. They are trying to force people to flee in a planned and orderly manner, which makes no sense.” according to Oscar Chacon, executive director of Alianza Americas.
“There is a misperception of Latin American and Caribbean migrants as undesirable individuals and a burden on the nation,” explains Oscar Chacon. “Nothing could be further from the truth, as they have proven to be an economic and social blessing for the United States and for millions of households that receive their remittances in the countries of origin.”
Meanwhile, some 50,000 people are still held in detention centers, costing an estimated $1.8 billion a year. Funds that could be spent on immigrant communities, including legal counsel, housing, health, transportation, education, and other programs. In addition, “aid funds from Covid are being diverted for the construction of prisons and police budgets” to repress and persecute immigration, according to Presente.org, an advocate organization integrated with Alianza Americas. For many, fleeing home is a matter of survival. People do not want to leave their home countries: they are forced to flee. The U.S. government must adapt its policy toward Central America to take into account the new realities, explains Elyssa Pachico.
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