Mexico expecting more migrants on southern border after US ends Title 42

Tapachula, Mexico, Nov 21 (EFE).- The upcoming end of Title 42 in the United States could spur increased migrant flows to the southern Mexico border, where activists and migrants are expecting an increase in arrivals in the city of Tapachula, on the border with Guatemala.

Migrants from Venezuela, Ecuador, El Salvador, Colombia and the Dominican Republican who are stranded in southern Mexico told EFE that they now have renewed hope a week after a US judge blocked Title 42, which allows the US to immediately deport undocumented border crossers.

In that regard, Luis Rey Garcia Villagran, the director of the Human Dignification Center (CDH) in Chiapas, told EFE on Monday that the change, which will enter into force on Dec. 21, will allow entry into the US and asylum requests for Venezuelans and thousands of people of other nationalities.

“Removing Title 42 will increase migration because one must recall that, as a cultural question, (the number of) migrants of all nationalities who are seeking to get to (Mexico’s) northern border in December, above all Mexican migrants, has increased too much,” he said.

The court ruling last Tuesday not only overturns one of the last barriers to immigration set up by former President Donald Trump but also poses a challenge for the Joe Biden administration amid record numbers of detentions of undocumented migrants on the border with Mexico.

In October alone, US authorities intercepted 230,000 migrants along the border with Mexico, and expelled more than 78,400 from US territory.

In this context, Garcia Villagran lamented the fact that migration continues to be a political football for Republicans and Democrats in the US.

Thus, he called Title 42 a “pretext” and a “political measure” that led to the deportation of migrants arguing that they posed a health risk during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Expectations have surged among Venezuelans, who since October had been facing immediate deportation due to the expansion of Title 42 announced by the Department of Homeland Security with an eye toward controlling immigration from the economically devastated South American oil producer.

Syrian-Venezuelan migrant Bahir Abaid told EFE that the US should give Venezuelans who arrive by land an opportunity because there are many “good” people among them.

“But unfortunately, just like everywhere, there are Venezuelans who have done bad things in the United States. But there are parents with small children who are not ceasing to try and enter (the US) to be able to improve their quality of life and the services (to which they have access),” he said.

Abaid has spent the past nine years traveling through Syria, Lebanon, Brazil, Venezuela, Central America and now, finally, through Mexico, where he said that local residents help the foreigners.

With the blockage of Title 42, migrants in Tapachula are awaiting more and bigger waves of people than in prior months.

Just last Thursday, 300 migrants from various countries illegally crossed Mexico’s southern border in a caravan, arriving in Tapachula and later setting off on their northward trek to the US.

In that contingent is Sandra Agustin, from Guatemala, who said she was motivated to head for the US before the end of Title 42 given that she and the two relatives with her are in great need and have health problems.

“We came here on foot because we’re not carrying enough money (to travel by vehicle), and so we’ll organize ourselves and are hoping to go farther,” she said.

Garcia Villagran reiterated his request that the Mexican government establish a “humanitarian corridor” to allow the passage of migrants through Mexican territory so that they can get to the US border without problems.

The activist said that increased numbers of migrants are already being seen, noting that more than 140,000 people over the past month have traveled from Ciudad Hidalgo, in Chiapas state, to San Pedro Tapanatepec, in Oaxaca, which has been transformed into “a tragic area.”

EFE –/bp

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