Friday, July 30

Biden takes urgent action to tackle the knock-on effect on the southern US border.

Washington Correspondent



Following the announcement of an amnesty, which the Capitol has yet to process, and a radical shift in immigration policies initiated by Donald Trump, the new North American Administration has been forced to take exception measures to tackle the alarming problem of a dramatic increase in arrivals to the frontera of minors traveling alone, without their parents. This Sunday the White House announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema, for its acronym in English) will mobilize at the border to care for these minors and seek temporary guardianship for them.

This is a fundamental change with respect to the treatment of these minors by the Trump Administration, which tried to keep them in camps along the border and even return them to Mexico hot. Now the president Joe Biden has authorized Fema, who is usually mobilized for natural disasters such as hurricanes or fires, to deploy at the border and in three months assist these minors and place them with relatives or foster homes while the courts process their cases. There is no exact number of children arriving from Mexico, but according to official US sources, there are hundreds each day. The latest figure, revealed by public radio NPR, is 3,400 minors at the government’s expense.

Foster shelters are completely overcrowded, and these minors end up spending entire days in border patrol facilities. In principle, by a judicial decision, they can only be there a maximum of 72 hours. The current average stay is 107 hours, according to those documents revealed on Saturday by public radio. In total, during the four years of Trump’s rule, US authorities temporarily assumed custody of half a million minors. Crosses dropped dramatically during the first months of the pandemic.

In reality, those minors who arrive now cannot benefit from the amnesty that Biden plans, which will only affect, if approved, those who were inside the United States before January 1 of this year, a period designed to deter of a knock-on effect that, despite everything, is taking place, according to the figures.

Hot returns

The Biden Administration does maintain a controversial Trump measure: as long as the pandemic lasts, and border crossings by road remain closed, adults who are caught trying to cross illegally will be returned hot to Mexico. This White House says that the reason is the prevention of the contagion of coronavirus. Biden wanted that measure to be adopted in a generalized way, to prevent the undocumented from staying in the United States to await a judicial decision on their residency requests, which are normally related to asylum.

As he said on saturday Alejandro Mayorkas, who is the new US Secretary (Minister) for Homeland Security, Fema is going to coordinate with other US agencies to “expand the hosting capabilities” of the immigrants. The Trump Administration created a gigantic scandal inside and outside the United States by temporarily locking families and children separated from their parents in metal cells that resembled cages. That, according to Mayorkas, is over. “Our goal now is to ensure that unaccompanied children are transferred to the custody of the Government as quickly as possible, in accordance with legal requirements and always in the best interest of the children,” said the minister.

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