Path cleared for Biden Administration to end Remain in Mexico

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 7:29 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -The United States Supreme Court has paved the way for the Biden administration to scrap the Trump era Remain in Mexico policy.

The high court ruled immigration policy is the purview of the Congressional and Executive branches and not the courts giving the Biden administration leverage to get rid of it.

But the Remain in Mexico policy doesn’t affect many of the people who came to the border to apply for asylum so scraping it won’t likely have an impact on the US/Mexico border.

“75,000 people more or less are estimated to be impacted by the Remain in Mexico programs,” said Beth Strano, of the International Rescue Committee. “It could only apply to the types of migrants that the Mexican state felt they could support and that was just Spanish speakers.”

That means the asylum seekers under the program were generally from South and Central American countries like Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

Even though small in numbers, it was still impactful to the people it affected.

“These are people who are not able to rebuild, can’t get on with their lives because like their lives are forced to be put on pause,” said Pedro De Velasco of the Kino Border initiative. “While they’re waiting, they have not arrived at safety.”

But what it does, it gives organizations which help asylum seekers some confidence that Title 42 will suffer the same fate.

Title 42 is a health policy issued by the Centers for Disease Control in 2020 during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. It gives Customs and Border Protection the ability to send asylum seekers the back to Mexico without processing their claims for asylum. It was meant to prevent the spread of the virus.

But now, the Biden Administration is trying to end that as well as the pandemic winds down. A decision to end it in May this year was stymied by the courts. Where as Remain in Mexico affects thousands, Title 42 affects as many as two million people.

Once Title 42 is lifted, Strano believes the border will become more orderly rather than the present chaos.

“We’d go back to an orderly process at that point,” she said. “I think it will be the opposite of what a lot of people are predicting.”

That’s because as of now, asylum seekers are not permitted to present their case at a border checkpoint so thousands of them have lived in tent communities in Mexico which are considered unsafe because of the cartels. That’s why so many of them go into the Arizona deserts, step across the border in hopes of being detained by the border patrol to try to plead their case. In many instances, it takes several tries.

When Title 42 is lifted, they can again use a checkpoint and not be forced into the dangerous rivers and dangerous deserts.

“It’s not about everyone is going to be granted asylum,” said De Velasco. “It’s about have the opportunity to be heard, having the opportunity to present their claim before an immigration judge.”

According to Strano, 25% to 26% of the asylum cases are granted.

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