A BORDER POLICY CHALLENGE

The migratory phenomenon is in the USA DNA. The USA-Mexico border is more complex and it is a challenge which must be solved for a better and a stronger society, at both sides of the border.

José Luis Ortiz

The migratory phenomenon is in the USA DNA. It´s been present in the US history since its beginning. The border between USA and Mexico is more complex than other borders, because of its extension and because it involves other countries´ citizens too: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and so on; so, there is, as always has been, a border policy challenge. And this is a challenge for all of us, as a Hispanic society as a whole (https://redintegralis.live/2021/03/01/la-sociedad-hispana-como-una-oportunidad/).  

The Trump Administration has been very controversial on this policy, because this is not only about policies and rules, but there are involved human rights, family ties, and human factors beyond migratory policies, and that´s from both sides of the border. 

Now, Biden Administration has used the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to support this phenomenon, specifically on how to manage the unaccompanied minors. You can have shelters and you can take care of the minors but, without their parents? 

Homeland Security Department was also asked to volunteer “to help care for and assist unaccompanied minors” who have been held in border jails that are managed by Customs and Border Protection. 

The change of federal administration has been used by human smugglers (coyotes) to cheat on migrants, falsely putting out the word that the border was opened (a coyote may charge between US$2,000 and US$10,000 to migrants, depending on the destination and the specific case).

Last February more than 9,000 children were detained at the border without a parent, more than the approximately 6,000 on January (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/14/us/politics/fema-migrant-children-border-biden.html?referringSource=articleShare) . The number of migrant children in custody along the border has tripled in March, and many of them are being held in jail-like facilities for longer than the three days allowed by law. But how quickly can the government process people safely and humanely?

Biden administration can´t use disaster aid funding without the state (California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas) requesting it, and not all these states are willing to do so.

And all these logistics and policies have been complicated with the pandemic, thinking on shelters, COVID testing, safe distance, and so on.

Mr. Biden is facing a migration challenge. The president has proposed overhauling the nation´s decades-old immigration system by making it easier for asylum seekers and refugees, expanding legal pathways for foreign workers, increasing opportunities for family-based immigration and vastly reducing threats of mass deportations. All these may take months or years to be fully implemented. We have a border policy challenge, which must be solved for a better and a stronger society, at both sides of the border.

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