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The number of asylum seekers entering the US city of El Paso spiked at the weekend | US-Mexico Border News


America border city El PasoTexas, said an estimated 5,105 asylum seekers were in custody as of Monday, after a wave of people crossed the Rio Grande over the weekend.

Data compiled by El Paso shows that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents have recorded 2,399 encounters in the area in the last 24 hours alone, including 892 releases. community, where shelters and nonprofits are expanded to their full capacity.

On its website, El Paso says the majority of refugees and migrants come from countries like Venezuela, Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Cuba, where violence and economic conflict widely disseminated.

The city counts an average of 900 people per day passing through city facilities or local NGOs.

The influx of people when a controversial US immigration policy called Title 42 was Expires on December 21. Implemented in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Title 42 allows fast US border agents rejected most asylum seekers on the basis of public health.

Fifteen states, including Republican-led Texas, are struggling to keep Title 42 in place, warning that Asylum applicants will spike without it. But immigrant rights advocates say the policy violates US and international law and puts people at risk of violence in deportation.

Several of the refugees and migrants who arrived in El Paso over the weekend were Nicaraguans who were released by authorities after being kidnapped in the Mexican state of Durango, Reuters news agency reported.

Sue Dickson, a volunteer with the Annunciation House in El Paso, told Al Jazeera that all 55 beds at the volunteer-run organization were full, but people still came.

“Right now there are a lot of people walking across the street and knocking on the door, but we can’t take them in because we can only take in people who have already arrived,” Dickson said. “When you don’t have identification, many shelters cannot legally accept you. And so you are almost at a loss.”

She said another large wave of refugees and migrants arrived in September, when the city and local NGOs welcomed about 1,000 people a day. “When a wave comes, we just deal with it in the best way we can,” she said. “We don’t have the resources or the people or the shelter to take care of them all.”

Dickson explains that people at the Annunciation House usually stay only a few nights. Shelter volunteers work with refugees and migrants to connect them with family members or other individuals who can act as sponsors, supporting them during their stay. back to the United States. From there, volunteers help arrange their travel to Dallas, New York, Chicago or other cities.

“People are going through El Paso,” Dickson said. “They don’t really settle here.”

The number of visitors increased dramatically

Immigration is a divisive issue in the United States, where one in eight residents is foreign-born, according to the country’s census.

But in the past year, the arrests of refugees and migrants hit a record highwith CPB reporting more than 2.7 million “enforcement actions” taken between October 2021 and September 2022.

That’s an increase of about 41 percent from the previous year’s record total.

The flow of refugees and migrants along the Rio Grande.
The flow of refugees and migrants from Juarez, Mexico, to El Paso, Texas, on December 11 [Omar Ornelas/USA Today Network via Reuters]

Prominent Republican legislators have referred to the issue as a central part of their platform.

In November, Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas said he had sent a bus carrying 28 refugees and migrants to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the latest in a series of moves to transport asylum seekers out of Texas to Democratic strongholds such as New York City and Chicago.

The bus arrived on November 16 carrying a 10-year-old girl who was hospitalized with fever and dehydration, AP news agency reported.

Critics have denounced the bus campaign as an inhuman publicity stunt, but Abbott has defended the program, saying it is a necessary response to a “reckless open border policy ” by Democratic President Joe Biden.

Since April, Abbott has transported approximately 13,000 refugees and migrants out of Texas by bus, first to Washington, DC, and then to other parts of the country.

Abbott’s office said in a statement: “Texas will continue to do more than any other state in the nation’s history to defend against an invasion along the border, including adding more sanctuary cities like Philadelphia as a stopover for our bus strategy.”

Similar programs have arisen in other parts of the country, including Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis made national headlines after chartering two planes to fly take everyone to Martha’s Vineyarda small resort island on the Massachusetts coast, inhabited by about 20,000 people.

And in Arizona, a state that, like Texas, straddles the U.S.-Mexico border, outgoing Governor Doug Ducey hired 70 buses to transport 2,500 asylum seekers to Washington, DC. His final days in office were also the subject of controversy, as working groups tried to fill gaps in the state’s border wall with stacked rows of shipping containers covered with steel wire. thorn.

By August, 1,164 meters (3,820 feet) of stacked shipping containers were located near Yuma, Arizona. The latest construction is part of a larger, $95 million project to cover 16km (10 miles) of the border near Arizona’s Cochinchina County with approximately 3,000 shipping containers.

But federal agencies like the US Forest Service and environmental groups have called for a halt to construction, and the Coopah Indians have urged the state to remove shipping containers from their lands.

Title 42 ends

Ducey is among the governors who appealed to the Biden administration Hold Title 42 in fact, argues that the policy “is one of the last resort measures still in place to help our border agents do their job”.

Last month, US District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan dismissed the policy, calling it a “arbitrary and capricious” violation of federal law.

In his ruling, Sullivan wrote that officials knew that, under this policy, refugees and migrants would be deported to areas with a “high probability” of “mistreatment, torture, , violent assault or rape”. He gave the Biden administration five weeks to prepare for its end.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) — which sued to overturn the Trump-era policy — and other rights groups welcomed the judge’s ruling.

Lee Gelernt, ACLU’s lead attorney in the case, said: “This is a huge victory and a truly life-or-death victory. “We have been told that using Title 42 against asylum seekers is inhumane and purely politically motivated.”

A soldier looks at the flow of people across the Rio Grande.
A member of the Mexican military watches from across the Rio Grande as refugees and migrants line up for immigration services in El Paso, Texas [Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters]

Dickson, a volunteer at El Paso’s Annunciation House, said she encourages Americans interested in immigration to visit shelters and meet asylum seekers in person.

She explained that many people have lived through the harrowing experience of passing by Darien clefta rugged mountain region connecting Colombia and Panama.

“They have seen dead body on the side of the road. They have seen people bitten by snakes take two or three steps and then collapse and be left along the trail. And the countries they go to, they won’t leave unless it’s a dire situation, a desperate situation,” she said.

“It’s not that they have a good life, and they just want a better life. These are people who are desperate, without work, without food, without medical care for their children. There is no hope, there is no future.”

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