On the border with Mexico, the situation is more than critical, and in Washington, D.C., political leaders are exploring the possibility of a bipartisan bill that would regularize the situation of some undocumented immigrants.
Thousands arrive at the border
Last weekend, as different sources reported, thousands of migrants crossed into El Paso. A massive increase that worries immigration authorities.
Many of these migrants are part of groups that had been kidnapped by criminal gangs in the state of Durango and, once released, arrived in the border city of Ciudad Juárez on December 11. On the other side of the Rio Grande is the U.S. city of El Paso, which is the obvious destination for the migrants.
“Over the weekend, the El Paso Sector experienced a large increase in illegal crossings averaging 2,460 daily encounters over 3 days, primarily through the downtown El Paso area,” reads a tweet from Peter Jaquez, responsible for the Border Patrol in the region. “Border Patrol personnel, along with our government and non-government partners, are doing everything possible to assess and control the flow of migrants affecting our region.”
The arrival of the migrants occurs less than two weeks before the expiration of Title 42, a regulation that allows the authorities to summarily expel certain migrants under the pretext of the health emergency that the country is experiencing.
But federal judge Emmet Sullivan questioned this pandemic-related argument, characterized it as “arbitrary,” and ruled that its application be suspended as of December 21st. The Biden Administration, which inherited this measure from Donald Trump, has appealed.
For their part, the regional and state authorities are more than concerned because they allege that they do not have the necessary facilities and resources to house and feed thousands of migrants whose numbers grow alarmingly day by day.
Statistics from the city of El Paso suggest that federal authorities are releasing an average of 900 migrants per day. Almost three out of four are from Venezuela; the rest come from Ecuador, El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Cuba.
Bill for ´Dreamers´
As the southern border seems to be heating up, in Washington, D.C., Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) and Senator Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) are circulating a draft of an immigration reform bill that includes regularization of DACA youth and the continuation of Title 42 for another year.
The draft, which already has the approval of Sinema and Tillis, includes a path to obtain citizenship for 2 million Dreamers (people who were brought to the US by undocumented parents when they were children), the extension of Title 42 until a plan that generates order at the border is approved, more than $25 billion for the Border Patrol, and reforms of the asylum system.
Of course, like similar projects that have not made much headway in recent decades, this proposal faces numerous obstacles. To begin with, there are only a few days left for the closing of the sessions of the current National Congress. The discussions are very preliminary and there are already some senators who do not seem enthusiastic about the idea.
But the bipartisan nature of the bill excites some legislators who would be willing to find compromises on some of the many issues on the broad immigration agenda. As always, the million-dollar question is whether Sinema and Tillis can count on the 60 votes that would prevent a filibuster. So far, there is no indication that this is the case.
This article was supported in whole or in part by funds provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library and the Latino Media Collaborative.