US braces for migrant influx as pandemic-era asylum rules end
As United States pandemic-era rules expire, the country is preparing to face thousands of migrants, resulting in deep divisions over immigration. These individuals are seeking safety and shelter in the US, but with a rising wave of nationalism, the welcome they receive may be uncertain. The Texas cities of El Paso, Brownsville, and Laredo have declared a state of emergency, as they are already struggling to manage hundreds of people from places such as Latin America, China, Russia, and Turkey.
El Paso’s mayor, Oscar Leeser, estimated that on May 11, the city could be dealing with up to 15,000 people. US government estimations suggest that over 150,000 migrants are presently waiting in northern Mexico. The expected spike in numbers is due to the expiration of Title 42, a rule established under former President Donald Trump to prevent the entry of individuals with Covid. However, this has proven to be a tool to swiftly expel those attempting to migrate without addressing their asylum claims.
Starting May 6, migrants can once again submit their asylum claims and undergo a legal process that may take years. With immigration being a regular point of conflict in US politics, President Joe Biden hopes new rules and the 1,500 active-duty troops he has sent to the border will help control the situation. Post-Title 42 arrangements mean that individuals who cross the border illegally will have a more challenging time proving their asylum case. If rejected, they will either be deported to their home countries or Mexico and will be barred from applying again for several years.
As part of the new rules, migrants are encouraged to use the CBP One app to apply for asylum and enter through regular ports. However, many experience technical difficulties and appointment issues, resulting in some opting to try their luck at official crossings. In Brownsville, a makeshift processing center has been established, causing tension as eight migrants lost their lives when an SUV crashed into a crowd at a bus stop.
In El Paso, authorities are preparing empty schools for use as shelters and increasing transportation aid for migrants to reach desired locations. Mayor Leeser emphasizes that there is no fixed resolution for this ongoing issue and that federal immigration laws are broken. Without a definitive plan or endgame, the US must determine the best course of action for the immigration challenge they face.
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