The expiration of Covid-era border rules in the US has caused uncertainty.

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The rules that allowed US border guards to expel asylum-seekers summarily during the pandemic have expired, leading to uncertainty for migrants and inflaming America’s already contentious immigration debate. Tens of thousands of people are expected to attempt to cross into the US in the coming days to escape poverty and criminal gangs in their home countries.

[To prevent a surge, President Joe Biden’s administration has implemented rules that make it more challenging for anyone claiming refuge. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated that people arriving at the border without using a lawful pathway would be deemed ineligible for asylum.

For more than three years, the US-Mexico frontier has been regulated by Title 42, a health provision to prevent the spread of Covid-19 by denying entry to people. However, the rule expired at midnight East Coast time, allowing asylum claims to be made again, but in most cases, they must be lodged before arriving at the border. Asylum-seekers are required to schedule interviews via a smartphone app, which presents a hurdle for those without functional phones or wifi.

The Biden administration is attempting to strike a balance between its Democratic Party’s humanitarian principles and avoiding images of people pouring over the border. Republican opponents have taken advantage of what they claim is an “invasion.” Senator Ted Cruz of Texas said that 22,000 people were camping on the other side of the border from southernmost Texas city Brownsville alone and accused President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris of opening the border to an invasion.

AFP reporters in Brownsville saw dozens of police cars deployed on the US side of the bridge that connects the city to its Mexican neighbor Matamoros. Heavy earth-moving equipment could be seen, and personnel were preparing the ground to install barbed wire. In El Paso, hundreds of people who had passed through a legitimate border gate on Thursday had been processed and allowed to make their initial asylum claim. Many others were being detained by Texas National Guardsmen who prevented them from crossing the border.

SOURCE: Ref – El Paso (United States) (AFP) 

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