On Friday, the Biden administration decided to restore the asylum system to the way it had worked for decades by freeing a group of asylum seekers in the United States, ending their long wait in Mexico, and dismantling the ‘one of the immigration policies of former President Donald Trumps.
The 25 people who have arrived are the first of some 25,000 asylum seekers whose cases are active under the Remain in Mexico program ”who will now be waiting in the United States for their hearings instead of south of the border. Wary of an influx of migrants, U.S. officials are warning people not to come to the border and to register against the backdrop that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees launched on Friday.
The new arrivals were taken to hotels in San Diego to quarantine them amid the coronavirus pandemic before traveling to their final destinations in the United States to stay with relatives, friends or sponsors.
President Joe Biden is keeping his promise to end a policy that Trump said was key to reversing a wave of asylum seekers, which peaked in 2019. The program, officially known as the Migrant Protection Protocols , changed the way people were traditionally treated. by the US government as they sought to protect themselves from violence and persecution. This exposed them to violence in Mexican border towns and made it difficult to find lawyers and communicate with the courts about their cases.
There were unanswered questions about Biden’s changes, including how Central Americans who returned home will return to the US-Mexico border. It is also not known how long it will take to treat all cases, with the oldest starting first.
There was also some confusion at the border. About 100 people gathered at the Tijuana, Mexico crossing point on Friday, sharing rumors and hoping to gather information on when they would be allowed to enter the United States while their cases were decided in court.
The United States should release 25 people a day in San Diego who had been forced to wait in Mexico, said Michael Hopkins, executive director of the Jewish Family Service in San Diego, which plays a vital support role. Authorities can process up to 300 a day at the San Diego border crossing, but Hopkins said it was not known when they would change the target to 25 a day.
People were also due to be admitted to the country from Monday in Brownsville, Texas, and next Friday in El Paso, Texas.
The International Organization for Migration, the United Nations agency for migration, tests asylum seekers for COVID-19 in Mexico and quarantines anyone who tests positive for 10 days. In San Diego, even asylum seekers who test negative will be quarantined for seven days in hotels according to guidelines from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A coalition of non-government groups called the San Diego Rapid Response Network will provide hotel rooms, organize transportation and perform health exams, Hopkins said. The Jewish Family Service will buy bus or plane tickets if asylum seekers cannot afford them, and winter clothing if necessary.
Make sure they’re healthy and in good shape to travel, Hopkins said in an interview.
Approximately 70,000 asylum seekers have been part of the Stay in Mexico program since its launch in January 2019. Those whose cases have been rejected or refused are not eligible to return to the country, but US authorities have not ruled out a form of reparation later.
The Biden administration, which stopped registering newcomers on its first day, said last week that asylum seekers with active cases would be released in the United States with court notices to appear in court. immigration closest to their final destination. It has brought tremendous relief to those who qualify, as US and UN officials urged not to rush to the border.
Edwin Gomez, who said his wife and 14-year-old son were killed by gangs in El Salvador after he couldn’t afford extortion fees from his auto repair shop, was eager to join his daughter in 15 years old in Austin, Texas. . She has already been granted asylum and lives with her family.
Who thought that day would come? Gomez, 36, said Wednesday in Tijuana, Mexico, at a border post with San Diego. I never thought that would happen.
Across the border from Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, El Salvador’s Enda Marisol Rivera and her 10-year-old son braved below-freezing temperatures this week, huddling under piles of donated blankets in their makeshift tarpaulin tent. Their propane gas stove froze, she said. Despite the additional hardship caused by the Arctic explosion that hit Texas and northern Mexico, Rivera was in good spirits.
Rivera and her son are among some 850 migrants living in the tent camp in a vast park just south of the Rio Grande in the Mexican town of Matamoros who have applied for asylum and have been told to wait in Mexico for their dates. audience in the United States. Many camp members have turned down offers this week to be transferred to urban shelters, fearing they will lose their chance to be allowed entry into the United States if they do not stay near the border.
Rivera hoped she would be allowed to come to the United States, where she could live with her sister in Los Angeles as her case went to immigration court.
We have faith in God that we will be allowed to enter, ”she said Wednesday. We have already spent enough time here.
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