Former Asylum Seekers Now Stream into the US

Immigration: Biden ends Trump’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ rule, opens US border to asylum seekers

*United States President Joe Biden’s recent directive has ended ‘Remain in Mexico’ regulation of former President Donald Trump, as asylum seekers leave the  Matamoros camp crossing into Texas in the US, to undo Trump’s most draconian anti-immigrant policies

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Sequel to United States (US) President Joe Biden’s recent directive putting paid to ‘Remain in Mexico’ regulation of his predecessor, President Donald Trump, hundreds of refugees have started crossing into Texas in a major change in US immigration policy.

It was gathered that Thursday, February 25, a month after President Biden had issued an order to end ‘Remain in Mexico’ philosophy, aid workers told Francisco Caal and his wife, Jeannethe Trujillo, to report to a United Nations (UN) clinic in the camp for a COVID test and be ready to move.

A few hours later, they were among the first 27 people allowed to cross the Gateway International Bridge to Brownsville in the country.

About 300 people have followed, or almost half the camp’s population, according to the UN agencies coordinating the effort in Mexico.

The Matamoros Camp for asylum seekers near US southern border   Photo: The Atlantic

For 10 months, Caal hitherto had lived with hundreds of other asylum seekers in a tent city across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas, forced by Trump to wait there for the US Government to decide his fate, Bloomberg report said.

He had fled Guatemala with his wife, Trujillo, after he endured death threats and a bullet in the gut, the couple fearing for their lives.

But when they reached the US border and asked for asylum at the time, the country’s immigration agents turned them back because of the Trump administration’s 2019 “Remain in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers.

They waited and worried in a squalid limbo, spending their days inside a home made from ragged tarps lashed to the camp’s chain-link fence, all with a view of US soil, just 70 feet away, report stated.

They prayed that COVID wouldn’t get them before they were allowed to cross to “the other side,” as the camp dwellers, who came from Central America, Cuba, Venezuela, and Haiti, call America.

Caal, 52, February 24, sitting on a log inside the makeshift home as his wife cooked some black beans over their little fire pit, said: “We just put ourselves in God’s hands.”

There were about 700 people in the Matamoros camp before the US started admitting them.

Now, report indicates that at the current rate of crossings, the camp could be cleared out in days. Any decision to close it will be made by Mexican authorities themselves.

Emptying the camp in Matamoros would eliminate a symbol of Trump’s immigration crackdown and count as an early success for Biden, who aims to undo his predecessor’s most draconian anti-immigrant policies, according to report.

The move comes as the new administration prepares for a battle to pass a sweeping immigration reform bill and as it draws criticism for reopening a Trump-era shelter for migrant children in Texas.

Meanwhile, as the number of migrants crossing the southern border is surging, border agents also have detained 70,000 people illegally crossing per month since October 2020, a sharp increase from a year ago.

The Matamoros camp is said to be a disturbing byproduct of Trump’s push to slash the number of people given asylum in the US.

After Trump took office in 2016, border agents had cut the daily number of people allowed to cross the Rio Grande to seek asylum, so immigrants slept on the bridge to keep their place in line.

After Trump imposed Remain in Mexico—known officially as the Migrant Protection Protocols, or MPP—in January 2019, the line got longer.

Asylum seekers flooded in from Central America, Cuba, and beyond, so they camped around the bridge, turning the Mexican side of the border into a tent city teeming with thousands of men, women, and children.

They often had to wait months for a hearing in the US, and when the pandemic arrived, the Trump administration suspended all hearings until the people started breathing a breath of fresh air after the Biden inauguration as US President.

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