With less than a day in power, the new Joe Biden Administration has rushed to dismantle two of Donald Trump’s star measures and campaign promises: building a wall on the border with his neighbor to the south and curbing the program. known as Stay in Mexico.
Nothing better exemplifies the rupture between one government and another. As of this Friday, the measure that is officially called the Migrant Protection Protocol (MPP, for its acronym in English), although it is better known by the nickname of Stay in Mexico, is suspended. The controversial program, launched in January 2019, ran non-stop for 13 months in a row, which meant that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) returned more than 60,000 immigrants to Mexico to wait in that neighboring country for the resolution of your immigration status. Thousands of people live, in times of covid, in appalling sanitary conditions and are subjected to continuous dangers due to the violence that prevails on the border.
Although precisely due to the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus, the DHS has already reported that all those who wait in Mexico for the granting of asylum so that their case is studied in the United States will not be able to enter the country immediately. In the United States, anyone who appears at a land border or an airport has the right to request asylum and present their case to a judge. The Trump White House considered that immigrants had spent years taking advantage of US laws to enter the country and then did not appear for the hearing of their case and disappeared, without papers, within its territory.
In an “immediate” way, a 100-day pause has also been imposed for the deportation of certain migrants who do not have citizenship, which will take effect this Friday. The Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, David Pekoske – waiting for the Senate to confirm Alejandro Mayorkas – released a memorandum a few hours after Biden entered the White House in which very strict limits are set for detaining and deport immigrants while the department reviews policies imposed during the Trump era.
This DHS report is a first step in finding a solution for the more than 11 million undocumented people who live in the United States, who have established roots in this country and whose children are American citizens. Despite the importance of these people — farm workers, caregivers, waiters, or higher-ranking professionals — in the nation’s day-to-day lives, the US Congress has not passed a weighty immigration law since the Administration. of Ronald Reagan in 1986. Biden tries to find a path to citizenship for this group, something in which both President George W. Bush and Barack Obama failed – despite trying.
Also imminent was the order of the Biden Administration to stop the construction of the wall of shame imposed by Trump to stop, in his words, the entry into the United States of Mexican “rapists” and “criminals.” On January 25, 2017, Trump signed a decree authorizing the construction of the wall on the southern border. The “great, great wall”, as the ex-president described it, was called in the Trumpian whims to cover the more than 3,100 kilometers of border between the United States and its southern neighboring country, Mexico, which posed “a serious security risk national”.
The initial budget for the wall was estimated at 25,000 million dollars and Trump warned every time that he could that it would be paid with Mexican money, even going so far as to say that that country would pay for the construction even though they did not know it. The former Republican president used all the methods available to him to divert funds to pay for the wall. The truth is that the minimum part of the wall that has been built has been made with money from the Departments of National Security, Defense and the Treasury. Not a Mexican peso.
When Trump signed the declaration of a national state of emergency at the border on February 15, 2019, he managed to divert about 6.3 billion dollars from the Department of Defense for the fight against drugs to the wall. To that amount was added another 3,600 million from the budget of the same department camouflaged under the heading for military construction, plus about 3,400 million from the annual budget of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP, acronym in English, which depends on the Department of Security) National). Congress managed to approve more than 1,300 million in 2018, which in total amounts to about 15,000 million, an amount less than the 25,000 million initially budgeted.
“We have already built 300 miles (480 kilometers) of the border wall,” Trump boasted on August 28, at a rally held after the conclusion of the Republican National Convention that formalized his candidacy for reelection. According to the latest data from the CBP, on January 4, “452 miles” (about 720 kilometers) of the so-called “new border wall system” had been built. Trump’s estimated figure was about 500 miles earlier this year.
But again, like almost everything in the Trump universe, the president did not conform to the truth. The vast majority of those 700 kilometers built to separate the United States from the immigrant crooks were actually classified as replacements or repairs to existing and dilapidated border structures. Following official data, in reality, Trump’s “great, great wall” is reduced to just over 120 kilometers, since the rest of the kilometers are what is known as primary or secondary fences, which form nature with the areas mountainous, deserts and canals around the Rio Grande (or Rio Grande). Of the more than 3,100 kilometers of border, before Trump arrived at the White House, there were separation barriers or fences in a third of it, about 1,000 kilometers. Trump’s pharaonic dream has remained in a few kilometers that, in addition, are now condemned to oblivion.
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