The Migrant situation at the US-Mexico border has taken a bad shape with surging number of unaccompanied children after the repeal of the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy and a halt on the “Border Wall”.
- The rising tide of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border has become the latest challenge for Joe Biden’s more humane immigration policy.
- The US border patrol force is holding the unaccompanied children at the short-term facilities at the border, instead of sending them back like Trump administration.
- Much of the influx can be accounted to Trump’s border policies like “Remain in Mexico” that kept 70,000 asylum seekers waiting at border cities.
- Experts believe Title 42, rolled out by Trump to limit Covid-19 spread due to migration, which expels entry of parents with children as a family is responsible for the surprise surge in unaccompanied children crossing into the U.S.
President Joe Biden’s administration faces a grave challenge at the southern end of the United States. Amid the reemerging wave of coronavirus outbreaks globally and the government’s efforts to devise a combat plan against the pandemic, the country is suddenly experiencing a heavy influx of minor immigrants from the Southern border.
More than 4,200 children migrant, unaccompanied crossed the U.S.-Mexico border on Sunday morning alone and were held in the short-term holding facilities, as reported by CBS news. The situation is rather tricky to deal with because almost all the unaccompanied migrants are ‘minors’. Due to this reason, the Biden administration is adopting a more humane approach to control the situation temporarily as of now. Instead of being returned back to Mexico from the southern border, these children are being held in the facilities since, according to the officials, the journey back home can be dangerous for these children.
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The situation at the southwest border is difficult.Alejandro Mayorkas, Homeland Security Secretary.
What’s happening with the Migrant Children at the US-Mexico border?
Calling it a more humane approach, the border patrolling force is holding the unaccompanied children at the short-term facilities at the border, instead of sending them back. So far, 3000 of the 4200 children at the border on Sunday morning are held at the facilities for more than 72 hours which is more than the authorized duration of detaining migrant children.
This is not all. According to Mayorkas, the patrolling force should be ready to encounter more migrants at the border than in the last 20 years. What needs to be noted here is the usage of the word ‘encounter’ which does not mean the number of individuals trying to enter the U.S. by crossing the border. Encounter denotes the repetitive attempts to cross the border by a single individual.
The average encounter for one adult in El Paso, Texas is 10 crossings. The short-term facilities where the forces have detained the migrant unaccompanied children are nothing short of jail.
Watch: The U.S.-Mexico migrant crisis: What is really happening at the border?
The sudden “unexpected” influx of migrants
This drastic and sudden rise in the migrant children trying to seek asylum in the U.S by crossing borders isn’t something that authorities, especially border patrolling forces, didn’t see coming. Under the Donald Trump administration, a huge amount of Mexican asylum seekers were barred from entering the U.S.
Trump’s Mexican border policies like “Remain in Mexico” kept as many as 70,000 asylum seekers waiting at the border cities for their U.S. court dates to enter the country.
Linda Rivas, Executive Director of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center said, “The administration has opened no legal way for people to come into the United States so this is going to continue to happen… We would love to see an end to Title 42 but we could also just simply reopen the ports and make them functional again and allow asylum seekers to present themselves at the port. It’s taking so long.”
A whopping 9,297 unaccompanied children were apprehended by the Border Patrol in February alone. This figure is the highest since May 2019.
Why are these children crossing the border?
The issue of migrant influx at the southern border of the nations isn’t new to the country. Biden administration is no doubt adding new records to the otherwise annual trend. Since Oct 1, 2020, two-thirds of unaccompanied migrant children trying to cross the border belonged to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the remainder of the children are almost all, Mexicans. Hundreds of these kids are under the age of 12 while a maximum of the kids under custody are teenagers. Most of these children cross the border through the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
These children are majorly crossing border to- first, escape gang wars, economic hardships, and harsh climate of their country, and second, to reunite with their family in the U.S. COVID-19 has further devastated the already feeble economies of the Central American countries. To make the matters worse were the hurricanes and natural calamities in the region last year.
Another expected reason why so many unaccompanied children are crossing the border, according to officials, is that they might not really be unaccompanied. Arguing that children alone can’t make a possibly dangerous trip all the way to the border, there are guesses they are accompanied by parents and are then left alone at the border to be allowed to enter the U.S.
This makes the route to asylum easier for parents and adults as Title 42 expels the entry of parents and children as a family. Title 42 was rolled out by the Trump administration as a measure to limit the spread of Covid-19 due to migration.