The Biden administration faces growing criticism for its treatment of migrants seeking protection at its border.
US authorities reportedly detained 1.7 million migrants attempting to cross the US-Mexico border this fiscal year, marking a historic record and highlighting the deepening political and humanitarian challenges facing the administration. Biden on immigration.
The figures apply to fiscal year 2021, which began last October, and were first reported by the Washington Post and later confirmed by the Reuters news agency.
The numbers came amid mounting pressure on the administration of President Joe Biden for its handling of the growing number of migrants fleeing political instability, poverty and climate change heading to the U.S. southern border with Mexico.
Early in his administration, which began in January, Biden reversed many of the hardline anti-immigrant policies of his predecessor, Donald Trump. He promised to implement a more “humane” approach to immigration policy.
Biden’s Republican rivals have claimed that Biden’s more welcoming tone has encouraged increasing numbers of migrants to make the journey to the US-Mexico border. The situation at the border is often referred to as “chaos” and “crisis”.
In a clear example of the events at the border, last month, nearly 15,000 asylum seekers, mostly Haitians, crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico and set up a makeshift camp under an international bridge in Del Rio, Texas, with the hope of applying for asylum.
The Biden administration responded by emptying the camp and expelling nearly 8,000, according to a tally by human rights groups, to Haiti, a nation devastated by political crises and natural disasters. Thousands of people were released into the US immigration system pending hearings. Thousands more, fearing deportation, returned to Mexico.
But Mexico has also been conducting deportation flights.
Immigration advocates, as well as Democratic leaders, have criticized Biden for the swift removals of many of those migrants to Haiti, a country they said is fraught with danger and not equipped to handle deportees.
The administration also launched an investigation into tactics at the border, after videos and photos circulated showing horse patrol agents using reins as whips in Del Rio to drive Haitians back along the riverbank.
Most of the Haitians were returned under “Title 42,” a health care restriction used by Trump that Biden has kept in place. The policy was implemented in March 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to curb COVID infections and allows most migrants to be expelled quickly without the possibility of seeking asylum.
Human rights groups have said the move is not based on science and denies migrants the right to seek protection, in violation of US and international law.
Title 42 involves expedited removals and no deportations, which means that US officials do not keep records of returnees. Many of this fiscal year’s arrests are believed to be repeat crossovers, with some people expelled to Mexico turning around and trying again.
Meanwhile, a federal court ordered the Biden administration to reestablish another Trump-era policy known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, or Remain in Mexico, a program that forced thousands of asylum seekers to wait for the hearings in Mexico. United States immigration courts.
The administration said it is taking steps to restart the program in November, pending Mexico’s agreement. The policy was highly problematic as it forced asylum seekers, including children, to wait months and even years in dangerous border towns in Mexico, where many were submitted to violent assaults, rapes and other crimes.