A Surge of Mexican Migrants Call into Question the ‘Open-Border’ Policy Biden Promised

Written by: Morgan Hutchinson, Associate Editor

Last month, more than 100,000 migrant families crossed the US-Mexico border without authorization. The fifteen-year high begs the question as to when the open border policy President Biden once promised will finally be enacted, if ever. Mexican Migrants at the border are wanting to hold the President accountable when as he pledged to roll back Trump’s immigration policies on his first day in office, sixty-four days ago.

According to the Washington Post, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have identified 9,500 unaccompanied minors at the south-western border last month alone, and more than 15,000 who are currently in federal custody. With numbers growing each day, the tens of thousands of migrants waiting at the border feel mislead and unsure of what to do.

Although Biden ran on the message of open borders and inclusivity, it seems he is quietly backtracking his stance. Not only are families being separated at the border but NRP reported just this week that “[T]hese are facilities that you wouldn’t want your child in for more than 10 minutes. They are big rooms. Kids are sleeping on thin mattresses on the floor. They are sort of bunched about six inches to a foot from each other”. Additionally, current regulations state that migrant children and teens should be moved within 72 hours, making the more than 500 children who have been held for more than 10 days a clear violation. 

The halt to entry at the border is due to Title 42. This Trump-era policy allows the U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Customs to effectivity restrict all border entry due to “potential health risks”. The reference Title 42 makes to minimize health risks, seems to be in the interior of the United States, with little regard to outside of the country. In fact, the facilities migrants are being held at are open at 100% capacity. Though the Biden administration once called this cruel and inconsiderate, they have yet to roll back any such policy. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, “The Biden administration’s use of Title 42 is flatly illegal,”. The ACLU previously sued the Trump administration over the same policy.

Additionally, the Trump administration adopted a policy known as “metering” where all applicants at ports were denied entry with the acceptation of a trickle of asylum seekers. This policy created crowds waiting south of the border and resulted in officers having to physically block potential applicants, sending them back into Mexico. Biden has not only maintained the “metering” policy, he plans to keep the controversial practice long into the future.

It seems that the divisive presidential race in 2020 was more alike than once imagined. With Biden using much of Trump’s policies, issues as to what is going to happen to the tens of thousands of migrants at the border is becoming imperative. With much still unknown, illegal immigrants are flocking to the United States at the hope for entry to a land of freedom and opportunity. At the end of the day, this should be a non-partisan issue. These are humans who are sitting and waiting for a succinct answer. Whether the resolution be a closed border, or ways to make legal immigration more accessible, migrant families should be told either way prior to leaving behind everything they know in Mexico.

Sources:

Andrea Shalal et al., Biden names Harris to lead efforts with Mexico, Central America, to stem migrant flow, Reuters (Mar. 24, 2021), available at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-biden-harris/biden-names-harris-to-lead-efforts-with-mexico-to-stem-flow-of-immigrants-idUSKBN2BG2X6?il=0 (last visited March 25, 2021).

Frank Jack Daniel & Ted Hesson, U.S. detained nearly 100,000 migrants at Mexico border in February, sources say, Reuters (Mar. 5, 2021), available at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-border/u-s-detained-nearly-100000-migrants-at-mexico-border-in-february-sources-say-idUSKCN2AX2FE
Jacqueline Alemany et al., Senior White House officials to visit border facility, allow one news network camera inside, Washington Post (Mar. 24, 2021), available at

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/03/24/senior-white-house-officials-visit-border-facility-allow-one-news-network-camera-inside/ (last visited March 25, 2021).

Molly O’Toole, Biden promised change at the border. He’s kept Trump’s Title 42 policy to close it and cut off asylum, Los Angeles Times (Mar. 19, 2021), available at https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-03-19/a-year-of-title-42-both-trump-and-biden-have-kept-the-border-closed-and-cut-off-asylum-access (last visited March 25, 2021).

The Honorable Chuck DeVore, National security requires Biden to break campaign pledge on illegal immigration, Texas Public Policy Foundation (Dec. 25, 2020), available at https://www.texaspolicy.com/national-security-requires-biden-to-break-campaign-pledge-on-illegal-immigration/ (last visited March 25, 2021).

Scott Neuman, CBP Defends Conditions at Border Detention Centers Amid Upsurge In Migrants, NPR (Mar. 23, 2021), available at https://www.npr.org/2021/03/23/980290448/cbp-defends-conditions-at-border-detention-centers-amid-upsurge-in-migrants (last visited March 25, 2021).

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,