UAE's ADNOC obtains $425m in H1 profits fueled by higher fuel demand    etisalat by e& conducts first 6GHz test in MENA region    Egypt establishes independent fund for Suez Canal    Egypt, South Korea to perform Pyramids Air Show 2022 Today    Egypt: Sisi appoints 73 female judges in the Court of First Instance    Egypt closer to export COVID vaccines after reaching 2nd highest WHO classification    Spain: prosecutor seeks 8 years sentence for Shakira over tax evasion    Egypt: Alamein Art Festival kicks off a collection of recycled installations    Russia delivers test kits of monkeypox to Egypt    John Legend enjoys family trip in Egypt    Sisi: Egypt wants to join BRICS    Egypt: street photography will no longer require permits    Sisi: Egypt determined to transition to low-carbon economy    Sisi, Biden discuss cooperation between two countries    Egypt's athlete Basma Emad wins bronze in weightlifting in Mediterranean Games    Congo needs Egypt's expertise to diversify its economy – FPI official    Noura Al-Mutair – first Gulf female boxer in World Championships    Egypt to play key role in integrating water, climate issues globally – World Bank official    Maha karara joins AAIB as Head of Corporate Communications, Sustainability    Egypt works on charting cooperation strategies with international institutions for 5 years: Al-Mashat    Over 2.4 million newborns examined for hearing impairment: Health Ministry    Netflix releases trailer of Arab adaption of 'Perfect Strangers' film    Balqees to headline concert celebrating launch of streaming giant LIVENow in MENA    Sawsan Badr to be honoured at Aswan Women Film Festival    MP Abdel Hady Al-Qasby calls government to facilitate and support NGOs    Al-Sisi follows up on 'Great Transfiguration Project' in St. Catherine    Cairo, London stress need to strengthen cooperation to face climate change    Foreigners account for 22.6% of Egypt's T-bills issuances in 1H 2021: CBE    Egypt's ambassador to Italy passes away    Egypt confirms readiness to help African countries face terrorism and extremism    An estimated 235 million people needed humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021, an increase of 40% compared to 2020: IOM Egypt    Egypt, DRC discuss water cooperation during WYF    Egypt, DR Congo discuss boosting bilateral cooperation during WYF    Cameroonian police probe assault on three Algerian journalists covering AFCON    Pharaohs start AFCON 2021 campaign with fierce clash against Nigeria    Foreign Ministry opens capacity building course for French-speaking African diplomats    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egypt's FM asserts importance of stability in Libya, holding elections as scheduled    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.



Biden faces pressure as US sets new course on immigration
Published in Ahram Online on 15 - 02 - 2021

After a weeklong bus ride from Honduras, Isabel Osorio Medina arrived in northern Mexico with the hope President Joe Biden would make it easier for people like him to get into the United States.
``It seems the new president wants to help migrants,'' Osorio said as he got ready to check in to a cheap hotel in downtown Tijuana before heading to the U.S. ``They're saying he is going to help, but I don't know for sure how much is true or not.''
The 63-year-old is among thousands of people who have come to the U.S.-Mexico border with the hope they will be able to ask for asylum and make their way into the U.S. now that former President Donald Trump is no longer in office.
While Biden has taken some major steps in his first weeks in office to reverse Trump's hardline immigration policies, his administration hasn't lifted some of the most significant barriers to asylum-seekers.
In fact, it's discouraging people from coming to the country, hoping to avoid what happened under both Trump and former President Barack Obama _ border agents getting overwhelmed by migrants, including many Central Americans with children.
``Now is not the time to come,'' White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a recent briefing, ``and the vast majority of people will be turned away.''
Secretary of State Antony Blinken struck a similar tone on Feb. 6 as he announced official steps to end Trump-era agreements with Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala that required many asylum-seekers to seek refuge in one of those countries instead of the U.S.
``To be clear, these actions do not mean that the U.S. border is open,'' Blinken said. ``While we are committed to expanding legal pathways for protection and opportunity here and in the region, the United States is a country with borders and laws that must be enforced.''
That message hasn't reached everyone.
More people have been arriving at a encampment in Matamoros, Mexico, a dangerous city just south of the Texas border where hundreds of asylum-seekers have been waiting under Trump's ``Remain in Mexico'' program.
It's possible even more may come after the Biden administration announced Friday that it would slowly allow an estimated 25,000 people to enter the U.S. as their cases are reviewed. The first wave is expected Feb. 19.
Walter Valenzuela, a 37-year-old Honduran, said he had been waiting in Tijuana, across the border from San Diego, for months for a chance to either seek asylum or risk an illegal crossing.
For years, asylum-seekers who met the initial threshold of demonstrating a ``credible fear'' of persecution in their homeland could generally stay in the U.S. until an immigration judge decided whether they qualified for permanent residency, which can take years.
Trump administration officials believed many asylum claims were fraudulent or lacked merit, submitted by people simply looking to remain in the U.S. But the issue is murky as tens of thousands flee violent gangs, natural disasters and political upheaval.
The Biden administration has signed several executive orders on immigration, including allowing in more refugees and establishing a task force to find the parents of about 600 children who were separated under Trump and still haven't been reunited.
But it hasn't ended a public health order Trump issued at the start of the coronavirus pandemic that allows U.S. Customs and Border Protection to immediately expel nearly everyone, including asylum-seekers.
Psaki said the government is still working to develop a ``humane, comprehensive process`` to evaluate people coming to the U.S.
``Asylum processes at the border will not occur immediately,'' she said. ``It will take time to implement.''
Alan Bersin, who held top positions dealing with border security during the Clinton and Obama administrations, warned that Biden is headed for a crisis if he releases all asylum-seekers into the United States. That would invite fraud and abuse, he said.
``There's such a pressing sense in the advocate community that is controlling the Biden immigration agenda _ they want to reverse all Trump actions,'' he said.
Meanwhile, pressure is mounting.
The number of people apprehended at the border has increased since January, though it's below some previous periods. Authorities say many are getting caught and returned multiple times.
Complicating matters, a law has taken effect in Mexico that prohibits holding children in migrant detention centers, and the U.S. has stopped sending back some families along parts of the border. CBP, which doesn't have capacity to hold families because of COVID-19, in recent weeks has released dozens of people into the U.S. with instructions to appear in court later.
Authorities fear that as word spreads of those releases, more people will come. And asylum is not the only immigration issue creating headwinds for Biden's administration.
Texas and Arizona have both sued to stop Biden's 100-day deportation moratorium, which a judge temporarily put on hold. Immigration and Customs and Enforcement officers are complaining about proposed rules to focus on detaining and removing people in the country illegally who pose national security threats or have been convicted of more serious crimes.
Jon Feere, a senior adviser to ICE under Trump, said such moves are part of a larger pattern that the Biden administration will come to regret.
``When you send the message that you are not serious about immigration enforcement, you can't act surprised when you see a massive influx of people that you have to manage,'' he said.
Raul Ortiz, deputy chief of the Border Patrol, said last week that as a liaison to the Biden transition team, he found the staff to be ``very attentive'' to the issues. Some had experience with surges of asylum-seekers under Obama.
``This wasn't uncharted waters,`` Ortiz said in an interview produced by the Border Patrol. ``It wasn't like we were starting from scratch.''
The larger debate is lost on Osorio, who came to Tijuana because he heard Biden wants to help people like him. He says he intended to seek asylum based on the dangers he faced as an environmental activist protesting illegal logging in Honduras.
But because he can't seek asylum at the official border crossing in San Diego, other migrants told him about a place he could try to cross illegally. He said if he encountered the Border Patrol, he would ask for asylum and see what happens.
``They already told us more or less how to do it,'' Osorio said. ``We're going to take a look.''


Clic here to read the story from its source.