(Trends Wide Español) — The world has seen the images of Border Patrol members on horseback charging Haitian migrants and the thousands of migrants who remain crowded under the border bridge.
They are just a few postcards of the crisis on the border between Mexico and the United States, which seems to have no end.
In April the president of the United States, Joe Biden, spoke of a “crisis” on the southern border of his country due to the large influx of immigrant minors trying to cross, escaping the economic situation, natural disasters and violence in their homes. places of origin, a delicate combination exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic.
Asked about the limit of refugees admitted to the US in the current fiscal year, Biden said that the number was going to increase and spoke of “the crisis that occurred at the border with young people.”
The White House retracted shortly after, saying that the president’s use of the label “crisis” does not represent the official position of the administration, but the word has already become associated as the number of migrants trying to cross the border between Mexico. and the United States continues to grow.
In February, more than 100,000 migrants were found at the border, 24,000 more than in February 2019 – during the last migrant crisis – and the number rose to more than 172,000 in March.
In addition, in July the Office of Customs and Border Protection of the United States detained 212,672 people, the highest monthly number of migrants detained at the border between the United States and Mexico in two decades. Among them were 18,962 unaccompanied children.
From October 2020 to August 2021, the United States has found 845,307 unique individuals, compared to 796,400 during the same period in 2019.
A “serious challenge” for the United States
The Biden administration faces a “serious challenge” on the southern border of the United States, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said in mid-August, adding that the United States has encountered an “unprecedented” number of immigrants who illegally cross the border.
“Of course, the challenge becomes more acute and more difficult due to the covid-19 pandemic. It has also become more difficult due to the fact that the previous administration dismantled our asylum system,” Mayorkas said.
The situation is generating tensions between the federal government and the border states.
In mid-September, the Governor of Texas, Republican Greg Abbott, ordered the closure of six points of entry along the US-Mexico border, and “directed the Department of Public Safety and the National Guard to maintain their presence. in and around ports of entry to deter crossings. “
“The crisis at the border is so severe that US Customs and Border Protection is requesting our help as their agents are overwhelmed by chaos. Unlike President Biden, the state of Texas remains committed to security. of our border and the protection of Americans, “said the governor.
With 8,600 migrants, including thousands of Haitians, remaining under the Del Rio International Bridge, Abbott said Tuesday that officials are using “unprecedented” methods to dissuade migrants from crossing into the state, including parking Guard vehicles. Texas National and the Texas Department of Public Safety along the border to create a “steel barrier.”
The situation in Texas has escalated further after images of Border Police on horseback intimidating Haitians at the border were released Monday.
“No human being should ever be treated like this,” US Vice President Kamala Harris said after viewing the images.
Expectations on the Biden Administration
The Biden administration’s border policy is still very similar to that of former President Donald Trump, allowing border authorities to swiftly remove detained migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
In recent days, the government has stepped up those deportations and increased the pace of repatriation flights.
This month, the Biden government began transporting migrants detained at the southern border into Mexico to try to prevent them from trying to cross the border again. The practice has received criticism from immigrant advocates. “The Biden administration must stop using Trump’s cruel and illegal handbook,” Eleanor Acer, senior director of refugee protection at Human Rights First, said in a statement.
“You have all this political context of the electoral campaign, where I think that many of the migrants thought that at the time a Democratic government was to be elected the borders would be open,” political analyst and collaborator Roberto Izurieta told Trends Wide. “It’s part of this whole campaign against Biden’s proposals.”
Izurieta recalled that Harris has asked migrants not to try to cross since legal processes are being maintained and the United States is committed to having secure borders.
Instead, Republican strategist Lorenzo Palomares said that migrants “know that the Biden administration is lazy on the border.” “This is a country of immigrants, but it is not a country of illegals,” said the exporter in Spanish for the campaign of former President Donald Trump.
Haitians in Colombia and Panama
Immigration is not limited to the border between the United States and Mexico, the so-called Northern Triangle (made up of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador). This year there has been an unprecedented flow of migrants, including Haitians, crossing the border between Colombia and Panama.
“It is extremely worrying,” Panama’s Foreign Minister Erika Mouynes previously told Trends Wide.
There are as many as 30,000 Haitians in Colombia who may be looking to travel north, and Panama expects 80,000 migrants to cross its borders on their way to the United States by the end of this year. In early September, more than 70,000 migrants arrived in Panama in 2021, more than 30,000 of whom are from Haiti.
Haiti is a “dangerous country” now because of the recent presidential assassination and the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck the country in August, said Nicole Phillips, legal director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, an advocacy group for Haitian migrants.