Feb 23, 2021
U.N. Helps Biden Bring Migrant Asylum Seekers Back into U.S.
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The United Nations is reportedly helping the Biden Administration find more asylum-seeking migrants to get back into the United States after they were removed to Mexico or Central America to await asylum processing under the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols. President Joe Biden canceled the program after taking office on January 21.
“Hundreds of migrants signed up on Friday within hours of the launch of a U.N. website that allows migrants with active cases to register remotely to be processed at the U.S.-Mexico border,” Reuters reported. “The United States and the United Nations are evaluating the locations of migrants and costs associated with possible flights and land transportation within Mexico.”
U.N.’s International Organization for Migration in Mexico Chief of Mission Dana Graber Ledek told Reuters, “Nothing is in place yet. Right now we’re still exploring all of the possibilities.”
The U.S. Department of State declined to respond to an inquiry from the news organization.
Reuters wrote that the United States, Mexico, and international organizations are scrambling to figure out how to register migrants, transport them to the border, test them for COVID-19, and “get them to their U.S. destinations.”
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) said their is “nothing compassionate” about the president’s open border initiatives that are bringing tens of thousands of migrants to the U.S.-Mexico border, Breitbart’s John Binder reported.
“By ending the Migrant Protection Protocols, the Biden Administration is sending yet another signal that it is okay to come to this country unlawfully,” Rubio said.
I have tremendous compassion for the unimaginable conditions in which people live throughout our hemisphere, but there is nothing compassionate about President Biden’s approach. The result will be more chaos at our border, more lives exploited by evil human traffickers, and more illegal immigration.
The chaos is beginning to materialize in Mexico and Central America as government officials prepare to deal with a massive wave of extra-continental migrants seeking to make their way through these countries to the United States because of Biden administration policies, El Sol de Mexico reported on Monday.
Authorities in El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Panama, and Nicaragua are “determined not to allow the irregular entry of extra-continental migrants. Those include migrants from Haiti, Cuba, Asia, and Africa,” the article reports.
In the U.S., the Biden Administration is also having to deal with a rapidly growing number of unaccompanied minors being apprehended at the country’s southern border.
The newspaper continues:
Human smugglers working in the region have also been telling would-be migrants to attempt the journey now, saying the new administration would prove more lenient than its predecessor.
The Biden administration has also discontinued the practice of sending children back to Mexico or their home countries if they were traveling with an adult who wasn’t a parent. The change is in line with immigration law, which forbids the government from quickly deporting unaccompanied children—defined as any child not traveling with his or her parent. But the change has sent more children to HHS shelters as well.
The number of Unaccompanied Alien Children illegally crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S. is increasing from month to month, according to reports from U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials. In January 2021, Border Patrol agents apprehended 5,871 unaccompanied minors. This is up from 4,995 in December 2020 and 3,076 in January 2020.
The Wall Street Journal reports shelters for unaccompanied minors are running out of space. Congressional budget cuts slashed housing space for minors by 40 percent. The shelters are now 93 percent full.
Mark Greenberg, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, told the Journal, “They’ve seen very large growth in a very short period of time. The closer you get to 100% capacity, the harder the system is to manage.”
Health and Human Services officials opened an emergency shelter in Carrizo Springs, Texas, to house unaccompanied migrant children, the newspaper reported. The facility will hold up to 700 children.
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Top US diplomat visits Mexico, Canada on virtual trip
WASHINGTON (AP) — Diplomats sat beside stacks of briefing papers, flanked by flags and emphasized their closeness. But they were geographically far apart Friday as Secretary of State Antony Blinken, because of the pandemic, started a new chapter in North American relations with virtual visits to Mexico and Canada in what was billed as his first official trip.
Though symbolically important in any administration, the decision by President Joe Biden to dispatch Blinken to Mexico and Canada for the first visits, even virtually, is part of a broader effort to turn the page from a predecessor who at times had fraught relations with both nations. During Trump’s presidency, the three nations signed a revamped trade accord after Trump demanded a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The secretary began his virtual visits with Mexico, a country former President Donald Trump repeatedly disparaged in his campaign and early in his presidency, though relations turned more cordial under President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
“I wanted to ‘visit,’ in quotation marks, Mexico first to demonstrate the importance that we attach, President Biden attaches, to the relationship between our countries,” Blinken told his counterpart, Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard.
Blinken’s meetings with Mexico and Canada, two of the largest U.S. trading partners, were expected to cover economic ground as well as well as efforts to fight COVID-19, which has prompted all three countries to close the borders to all but essential traffic.
Biden last week made his first bilateral meeting, also virtual, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who at times had a frosty relationship with Trump. Biden disappointed some in Canada with his decision upon taking office to reverse Trump and revoke the permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline, which President Barack Obama’s administration determined had only limited energy and economic benefits to the U.S. and conflicted with efforts to curb climate change.
That didn’t come up in the public portion of Blinken’s meeting with Foreign Minister Marc Garneau, who echoed Trudeau in praising Biden’s commitment to “renew U.S. leadership and diplomacy.”
Ebrard, for his part, welcomed Biden’s decision to reverse his predecessor and rejoin both the Paris climate accord and the World Health Organization. He also praised the “initiatives” of the new administration, an apparent reference to the decision to set a new course on some immigration and border policies.
“We understand that these are being done in recognition to the Mexican community,” he said, without mentioning any specific policy. “We are receiving them with empathy.”
Biden ended Trump’s policy of requiring migrants seeking asylum to wait in Mexico or to pursue their claims in Central America. He also restored protection for people without legal status in the U.S. who were brought to the country as children, many of whom are Mexican, and is backing legislation that would enable them to seek citizenship.
The Biden administration has begun processing the asylum claims of about 25,000 migrants who had been in Mexico, often in unsanitary and dangerous conditions, but has not lifted a policy, imposed at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, of quickly expelling people captured along the border and has sought to discourage illegal migration.
Just before his visit with Ebrard, Blinken conducted a virtual tour of the busy border crossing at El Paso, Texas, and said the administration is working with Mexico and Central American nations to ease the conditions that drive people to try to illegally reach the United States.
“To anyone thinking about undertaking that journey, our message is: Don’t do it. We are strictly enforcing our immigration laws and our border security measures,” he said.
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