Social Issues

US policy leaves migrants stuck in Mexico confused, frustrated

By Manuel Ayala

Tijuana/Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Jan 13 (EFE).- Washington’s new policy toward Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans seeking to enter the United States is deepening the desperation of migrants from those nations who find themselves marooned in northern Mexico.

President Joe Biden’s administration said it will admit 30,000 people a month from the quartet of countries, all of them except Haiti currently under some form of US sanctions.

But all Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans apprehended trying to slip into the US without authorization will face immediate deportation to Mexico.

Migrants at shelters in Tijuana, just across the border from San Diego, complain of a lack of reliable information.

“There are many things being said here, but they have not said what we have to do,” Romina, a mother of two from Venezuela, told EFE.

People say “that we have to go on the internet, that we have to go back to our country and apply for asylum from there, but the truth is that there no change in our situation and I would like to be better informed because I’m traveling with my two boys,” she said.

Jessica, who hails from Haiti, said that while she understands the new policy, she was unable to submit an application because she cannot secure a sponsor in the US.

“They told us that we have to submit an application, but I don’t meet that requirement and so I could not complete the process,” she said.

The US government has yet to provide a version of the application in Haitian Creole, according to Nicole Ramos, an attorney and law professor who heads the Border Rights Project for Al Otro Lado (On the Other Side), a migrant support organization with facilities in Tijuana and Los Angeles.

She told EFE that her group offers workshops for Haitians in Tijuana to help them with the mobile app created by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to enable migrants to request appointments to apply for asylum.

Only seven appointments are available per week.

In the states of northeastern Mexico, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is assisting roughly 18,000 migrants the group describes as victims of the “inhumane” immigration policies of both the US and Mexico.

The CBP intercepted more than 2.76 million undocumented migrants in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2022.

During this week’s North American Leaders Summit in Mexico City, Biden publicly thanked Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for agreeing to accept migrants expelled from the US.

The praise from Biden made Lopez Obrador a target of criticism from migrants and their advocates, who accuse Mexico’s head of state of complicity with Washington.

A day after the summit, dozens of mainly Venezuelan, Nicaraguan and Cuban migrants were detained by the US Border Patrol in El Paso, Texas, and transported across the border to Ciudad Juarez.

More than 53,000 migrants were detained in the El Paso Sector in November alone, the CBP said, while migrant shelters in Juarez are at more than 100 percent capacity. EFE ma-gp/dr

Related Articles

Back to top button