Immigration lawyers and activists said Venezuelan migrants arriving at the US border would be able to reapply for asylum without fear of deportation, known as Title 42.
Starting last month, Venezuelans began being expelled from Mexico under Title 42, a rule enacted by the Centers for Disease Control to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and those crossing irregularly into the United States. was used to take out.
The move was part of the US government’s plan to reduce illegal immigration and included a program of parole For Venezuelans to immigrate legally.
This Tuesday, a US federal judge set down Title 42 It is illegal“An arbitrary and capricious policy,” he wrote in his decision. On Wednesday, at the request of the government, the judge given a deadline By December 21 to expire Title 42.
“People (at the border) have expectations, but they don’t really know what is going to happen,” he said. It’s time to implement other plans that can really have the same impact as Title 42,” Andrea Rudnick, volunteer coordinator for Team Brownsville, a charity based on the Matamoros-Texas border, told Voice of America.
How does the ruling affect Venezuela?
Since last month, after registering a record number of Venezuelans at the border, the Biden administration implemented a schedule of parole human It allows Venezuelans who have a sponsor to legally travel to the US. As part of the measure, the government established that Venezuelans who escaped immigration control points and were stopped at the border would be returned to Mexico under Title 42. Thousands of people were left stranded in Mexico and other countries in the region.
Attempts by Venezuelans to cross the southwest border irregularly dropped from 1,100 to about 300 per day after the measure, according to DHS data. Thousands of Venezuelans have since been trapped and camped on the border with Mexico where they protested By measure
“There are many migrants waiting in both Matamoros and Reynosa. They have been waiting for a long time. Shelters are full. People are sleeping in the streets, in very old tents. In really bad conditions,” Rudnick explained.
Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, director of policy for the American Immigration Council (AIC), a Washington, DC-based organization that advocates for immigrants, said it remains to be seen how the Joe Biden administration will apply the court’s decision to individuals. Asylum at ports of entry, but Venezuelans cannot be deported back to Mexico under Title 42.
“I tried to go there to Chaparral but they sent us back because they said they are not providing shelter there,” he told Voice of America. Francisco López in Tijuana, Mexico, “I already had a work visa, but due to the pandemic, hotels closed their doors and it was in 2019 that I moved to the United States to work,” he says.
Now he is on the run from violence on his land and has given up on waiting for an H2B visa. “There are many crimes in Guerrero, many murders and we have to flee,” he explained.
The court’s ruling stated that “it is inappropriate” for authorities to “ignore the consequences of any actions they decide in pursuit of their objectives, especially when those actions suspend the procedural rights of non-citizens.” The extraordinary decision to make involves port”.
This, says Damaris Rangel, an immigration attorney, “recognizes [los migrantes] Yes, they can request asylum and they can request asylum, because they were not being guaranteed their human rights.
Title 42 has been applied unevenly based on the nationalities of immigrants, affecting more people coming from the countries of the so-called Northern Triangle—Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador—and Mexicans, as Mexico accepts their return. Is. Cubans have recently become the second largest nationality at the border, after Mexicans, Venezuelans and Nicaraguans, it has been reported. The Associated Press,
Carla Marisol Vargas, a senior attorney with the Beyond Borders program at the Texas Civil Rights Project, an Austin-based organization that promotes social justice, said for the first time since Title 42 went into effect in March 2020. Migrants from Guatemala, Honduras, L. Salvador and most recently Venezuela will be able to independently seek border protection under US immigration law.
“We hope that without Title 42, America will have the capacity and the ability to prosecute people. It’s a matter of will,” Vargas said.
Claire Thomas, director of the New York Law University Asylum Clinic, said the end of Title 42 means DHS will once again have to enforce humanitarian protection laws at the border and deny asylum to any migrant at the border, regardless of nationality. can request.
Kathleen Bush-Joseph, a policy analyst at the Immigration Policy Institute, a Washington, DC-based think tank, said Title 42 “prevented many immigrants from claiming asylum because they were not allowed to enter the US or were deported.” was given.” ,
“The completion of Title 42 policy will restore critical access to that protection for those who need it most,” he said.
parole program did not eliminate the possibility Venezuelans will request asylum in the US. But removal at border checkpoints under Title 42 makes it difficult to apply for that protection, lawyers and experts point out. visa on arrival,
DHS did not answer this question voice of america How will it apply the court’s ruling to people seeking asylum at the border, particularly Venezuelans?
The US State Department referred any questions about how the border would affect asylum-seeking migrants to DHS.
Until December 21, when the Title 42 suspension takes effect, Venezuelans who cross into the US irregularly will continue to be turned back to Mexico, he said. visa on arrival Blas Nuñez-Neto, DHS Acting Assistant Secretary for Border Policy and Immigration.
“The process for Venezuelans will continue as long as we have the capacity to return Venezuelans who cross illegally into Mexico or other third countries. is something we are actively discussing with our countries and partners.
Núñez Neto said the federal government is looking into “what can be done after Title 42 expires” to continue with the program.
“Thousands of Venezuelans have already traveled to the United States based on this process [de parole humanitario]which is a unique opportunity for Venezuelans that offers many benefits for those who do not cross illegally,” he said, without offering precise figures on how many Venezuelans have received parole. It’s the only way to come,” he said.
US officials warned that the border was not open and alerted migrants about human traffickers.
A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said, “While the moratorium is in effect, DHS will continue to process individuals in accordance with the CDC Title 42 public health order and remove single adults and family units at the southwest border.” ” ) on Wednesday.
“People should not listen to the lies of traffickers who will take advantage of vulnerable migrants, putting their lives at risk. The border is closed and we will continue to fully enforce our immigration laws at the border,” the spokesperson warned.
Rudnick said that migrants who plan to cross the border, and those who work there, know that “it will never really be open. It’s going to be free for people to come and cross the border and be processed smoothly.” The flow is not going to happen. It’s not going to happen because CBP won’t allow it. The governor of Texas won’t allow it. They’ll be working on other ways to keep immigrants out between now and December.
Title 8 Transition
The temporary suspension of the order until December 21 gives DHS “time to move additional resources to the border and coordinate with stakeholders including nongovernmental organizations and state and local governments to help prepare for the transition to Title 8 processing.” will,” said the DHS spokesperson.
Under Title 8, immigrants are interviewed by border agents, who determine whether there is a credible fear of remaining in the country to avoid immediate deportation, or they may be ordered to release under recognizance. Known as -220A.
Concerns about capacity at the border
Meanwhile, concerns are growing that migrant shelters will become overcrowded.
Theresa Cardinal Brown, director general of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said there is little capacity at the border to process the large numbers of migrants entering the country, with systems “already very overwhelmed”. think tank Located in Washington DC.
The Customs and Immigration Control Service (ICE) does not have the capacity to hold so many detained immigrants and the facilities at the Office of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) “fill up very quickly with thousands of arrivals,” he said.
CBP used Title 42 expel most central americans and more than 1 million times in the fiscal year ending in September, according to Venezuela. agency data.
In the same period, authorities recorded a record 2.7 million arrests at the southern border.
In the past two months, Title 42 has been used more than 80,000 times, according to agency data.
A Title 42 lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of asylum seekers that led to Sullivan’s decision. Lee Gelernt, lead attorney for the ACLU in the lawsuit, said that “the use of Title 42 against asylum seekers was inhumane and purely politically motivated.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott alerted President Biden in a letter following Judge Sullivan’s decision about the high number of migrants coming into his state from across the border and assured that the federal government has “failed” to enforce immigration laws. “Has been
Journalist Vicente Calderon contributed to this report.
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