There are six humanitarian groups that the president of the United States, Joe Biden, went to to choose which are the migrants who can enter the country. The announcement was made unofficially and has drawn much criticism. The big question is: what will be the selection criteria?
Trump, the president’s proposal arises to work together with humanitarian organizations. These will be in charge of determining who are the most vulnerable migrants on the southern border of the United States to allow them the passage to the North American country.
Although the announcement has not been made officially and has been handled with the utmost discretion by the United States Government, several of the groups in charge of the selection of migrant asylum seekers contacted the AP and made it known more details of the plan.
Thus, it is expected that up to 250 asylum seekers will be admitted daily, who will be referred by humanitarian groups to the Department of Homeland Security, which will give the last word on the entry of these people into the country. The system, according to several of the groups, will be in force until July 31.
The announcement comes amid growing pressure from international organizations on the Biden government, who during his election campaign openly proposed to end the excessive measures to restrict migration by the Donald Trump government.
Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy is dangerous, inhumane, and goes against everything we stand for as a nation of immigrants. My administration will end it. https://t.co/toYzMaPP1Y
– Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) March 12, 2020
In fact, a few weeks ago, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had made a forceful call to the president in which he encouraged him to lift “Quickly the public health-related asylum restrictions that remain in place at the border and restore access to asylum for people whose lives depend on it”.
Days later and after knowing the Government’s determination, Sibylla Brodzinsky, spokesperson for the UN office and who had published the statement on her Twitter account, applauded the decision and, referring to the groups in charge of the management, said: “We have had a long relationship with them and they are trusted partners “.
UNHCR’s @FilippoGrandi appeals to the government of the United States to swiftly lift the public health-related asylum restrictions that remain in effect at the border and to restore access to asylum for the people whose lives depend on it. https://t.co/hBX0ZPNKVX @refugees
– Sibylla Brodzinsky (@ Sibylla21) May 20, 2021
However, many doubts remain about the effectiveness of the measure. First, critics wonder about the anonymity of the groups chosen by the president. Decision that has been justified by the fear that the offices based in Mexico could be affected by asylum seekers.
Although the groups have not been publicly identified, with the exception of the International Rescue Committee, AP claims they spoke with two people who anonymously claimed that “London-based Save the Children, two US-based organizations, HIAS and Kids in Need of Defense; and two organizations based in Mexico, Asylum Access and the Institute for Women in Migration ”, will be part of the selected groups.
Second, the great controversy lies in knowing what are the criteria for selecting the migrants who will be admitted to the country. These have not been clarified either, but according to Raymundo Tamayo, director of the International Rescue Committee in Mexico, special consideration will be given to people who have been stranded in Mexico for a long time, who have health problems or disabilities, who do not speak Spanish. or people from the LGTBIQ + community.
On the latter, Lee Gelernt, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, told the AP news agency that the groups are in “a very difficult position because they essentially need to sort out despair.” The uncertainty is shared by thousands of migrants waiting in Mexico to be accepted into the US It should be remembered that, according to the authorities of that country, in April 2021 the highest number of migrants was registered waiting to be admitted in more 20 years.
Amid criticism, people like Susan Coreas, a transgender woman who left El Salvador, benefit from the selection system by being able to enter the United States after being chosen by humanitarian groups as one of the vulnerable people. The announcement came to her after she had waited for more than a year in Ciudad Juárez (Mexico) for her asylum application, which was denied by the public health order established by the Trump government and which, like her, forced thousands of migrants of various nationalities to be stranded in serious conditions in Mexican territory.
What was the controversial law about?
Known as Title 42, it was a law enacted by the Donald Trump government on March 20, 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic. In this it was foreseen that, when there was a health crisis, the US Government could indiscriminately expel undocumented immigrants.
According to the American Immigration Council, this law “Allows the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prohibit the entry into the United States of people when there is a danger of entering a contagious disease to the United States.”
The law authorized any customs official to prevent the entry of migrants under such justification. This led, along with programs established by Trump such as “Stay in Mexico”, that 68,000 people were returned to the Latin American country.
In Mexico, immigration control has become unmanageable and it is sought that with Biden in power, he radically changes the way in which migration to the United States has been handled in times of pandemic.
What is expected?
With the growing vaccination in the United States and the drop in cases of infections and deaths from Covid-19, Biden is expected to eliminate the immigration policies imposed by Trump and justified under the pandemic.
However, there are still many doubts about the effectiveness of the collaboration of the United States Government with humanitarian groups that today are already overwhelmed by the number of asylum claims.
In addition, the process has been classified as “murky” by experts on migration issues such as Jessica Blotter, an analyst at the Institute for Migration Policy. Blotter also affirms that “presenting clear and precise information on how and who could enter could lead to fewer migrants making the trip, so there is no such game of chance that seems to be in force at this time.”
There are few clarities and many doubts about this cooperation, which many continue to see as one more initiative proposed by Biden with a view to separating himself from the immigration policy of his predecessor.
With AP, Reuters and local media