On Tuesday, tensions mounted at the U.S.-Mexico border as concern grew about restrictions for asylum-seekers. The Supreme Court granted a temporary injunction to allow the existing pandemic-era limitations on migrants to remain in effect.
The reprieve granted by conservative-leaning countries was brief and could have been temporary. They are trying to keep a law that permits officials to deport many, but not all, asylum-seekers. They argued in a final-ditch appeal to the Supreme Court that increased migration would have a negative impact on services like law enforcement and healthcare and warned about an “unprecedented disaster” at the south border.
Chief Justice John Roberts issued a stay in lieu of a further order asking President Joe Biden’s administration to reply by Tuesday, 5 p.m. This was just hours before Wednesday’s deadline for restrictions to be lifted.
Roberts’ orders were acknowledged by the Department of Homeland Security. The agency is charged with enforcing borders security. It also stated that it would “continue preparations to manage the border safely, orderly and humanely when Title 42 public health or lifts.”
Since March 2020, 2.5 million migrants have had their rights denied to apply for asylum in the United States and internationally. This was due to the fact that Title 42 (a public-health rule) prevents COVID-19 from spreading.
As pressure mounts in both communities bordering the U.S. Southwest, the decision about what next will be made is up to the wire.
Oscar Leeser, El Paso’s Democratic Mayor, warned Monday that the shelters at Ciudad Juarez border are overcrowded with approximately 20,000 migrants who have made plans to enter the U.S.
The City of El Paso, despite Monday’s court order, rushed to increase its capacity to host more migrants. They converted large buildings into shelters and the Red Cross brought in 10,000 cots.
Local officials say that they plan to alleviate the pressure on shelters in their area by chartering buses from Texas to larger cities or other nearby states. This will allow migrants to get closer to family and friends, as well as coordinating with non-profit groups.
Leeser stated, “We will continue being prepared for whatever comes through.”
A few blocks away from the border is a shelter run by a church. Children and women were waiting in line to get a place in the evening. They also accepted food donations from several cars that had gifts. To remove blankets, and other items that had been left behind by the migrants, police and municipal trash workers were on hand.
Jose Natera (48-year-old handyman hailing from Guaicaipuro in Venezuela) said that he traveled three months to get to El Paso. Sometimes he travelled on foot and had no sponsors or money.
He said, “I must stop here until you can get a ticket.”
Roberto Lujan of El Paso and Daniela Centeno gave out chips, Hostess cakes and soda to the crowds at a corner.
Lujan, 39 year-old construction worker said that “I must do it.” “I’m a mother to children and know how difficult it is.”
The conservative-leaning states argue that Title 42’s removal will cause a flood of immigrants to their state and tax government services such as health care and law enforcement. The federal government does not have a plan for dealing with an increase of migrants, according to the conservative-leaning states. Meanwhile in Washington the Republicans will take over the House to make immigration a major issue.
Officials from the Biden administration stated that they had increased resources at the southern border to prepare for Title 42’s end. This includes increased border patrol processing coordination, surveillance and security at entry points.
According to the White House, approximately 23,000 agents currently patrol the southern border.
The Title 42 restrictions, which were imposed by a 1944 law on health, are against American and international obligations to refugees fleeing persecution. They also claim that this pretext has been outdated with the advancements in coronavirus treatment. The Title 42 restrictions were ended by them in a lawsuit. A federal judge ruled for them, and the deadline was set for Dec. 21.
Mark Seitz (Catholic bishop of El Paso) expressed concern Monday about the possibility that migrants will be prevented from submitting a claim for U.S. protection after years of waiting.
He asked, “What will happen to all the people on their way?”
While Title 42 has been applicable to all nationalities, it fell disproportionately to those who come from Mexico, which includes El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.