Social Issues

Mexican migrant shelters prepare for more deportees from US

By Guadalupe Peñuelas

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Feb 24 (EFE).- Migrant shelters in northern Mexican have expanded in expectation of an increase in the number of asylum-seekers deported from the United States.

In Ciudad Juarez, just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, El Buen Samaritano (The Good Samaritan) shelter has increased its capacity from 80 to 200 beds.

With an estimated 10,000 undocumented migrants already here, organizations in this border city are worried by signs that Washington may be contemplating tighter restrictions on immigration.

The Washington Post reported that the US and Mexico were in talks on a plan for the immediate deportation to Mexican territory of third-country migrants on the expiration of Title 42, a rule invoked in 2020 during then-President Donald Trump’s administration that allows for the immediate expulsion of foreigners arriving at the border to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Current US President Joe Biden’s attempt to end Title 42 has been held up by the courts, but the measure is expected to be lifted on May 11.

While US officials denied the Washington Post story, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said this week that it will propose, in conjunction with the Department of Justice, a rule that would make it more difficult for people who enter the US without authorization to apply for asylum.

Under the proposed rule, for a period of roughly 24 months following the expiration of Title 42, undocumented migrants who “cannot establish a valid claim to protection” will be subject to immediate removal and barred from re-entering the US for five years, DHS said.

“We need more shelters to be able to receive the migrants,” El Buen Samaritano director Juan Fierro told EFE.

The Samaritano opened in 2017 with an initial focus on providing safe lodging for migrant families and the shelter also provides food, recreational activities for children and counseling.

One of the guests at the inauguration of the expanded shelter was James Yong, head of the United Nations Refugee Agency field office in Ciudad Juarez.

“Last year 130,000 migrants requested asylum in Mexico. The lives of people who have fled their countries can be changed when they are able to reach this kind of space where they can receive protection,” Yong said.

The US announced in January that it would take in up to 30,000 migrants per month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela who successfully apply for entry from their countries of origin but immediately deport other migrants from those nations.

Between them, Mexico and the US deported more than 196,300 Central American migrants in 2022, including upwards of 35,000 children and adolescents, according to the International Organization for Migration.

US Customs and Border Protection said that its agents detained a record 2.76 million unauthorized migrants on the Mexican border during the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2022. EFE gp/dr

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