Pressure mounts on Biden over migrants - GulfToday

Pressure mounts on Biden over migrants

Mexico migrants

Central American migrants surrender to US Border Patrol agents south of the US-Mexico border fence in El Paso, Texas. Reuters

It seems to be the proverbial flip-flop politicians make, due to change in circumstances. In February, President Joe Biden said he would undo the damage caused by his predecessor, Donald Trump, over asylum requests from migrants on the US-Mexico border and the immigration system as a whole.

Perhaps one of the most shocking spinoffs of Trump’s 2018 “zero-tolerance” policy was seeing several thousand children being forcibly separated from parents and legal guardians detained at the US-Mexico border.

The policy, described by the administration as a deterrent, sparked widespread outrage and the backlash led Trump to sign an executive order to end the practice. Compassion seems to be at the core of the policy of the Biden regime, which said it would create a task force to try and reunite hundreds of families still separated.

 “We are going to work to undo the moral and national shame of the previous administration that literally, not figuratively, ripped children from the arms of their families,” Biden said, as he signed the three immigration-related executive orders at the White House.

Now, Biden seems to have done an about-turn on the issue: he urged migrants not to come to the United States, as he is facing flak from Republicans over the growing number of people arriving at the southern border with Mexico – including thousands of unaccompanied children. Biden also shrugged off claims that his dismantling of former president Donald Trump’s tough stance had encouraged the surge, pointing out that there had been similar surges in 2019 and 2020.

On January 20, his first day in office, Biden scrapped several of Donald Trump’s contentious immigration policies, including halting new construction of a border wall and proposing legislation to create a citizenship pathway for the nearly 11 million people living illegally in the US. Republican critics say Biden’s policies caused a sharp increase in migrants seeking to cross into the US illegally. The president spoke a day after top Republican congressman Kevin McCarthy visited the border in Texas with fellow Republican lawmakers and accused Biden of creating a “crisis.”

Biden’s chief of homeland security Alejandro Mayorkas said the rise in unaccompanied children — some as young as six or seven – comes from ending the policies of Trump.

The Biden administration continues to expel most single adults and people travelling in families. The number of migrants being stopped at the US-Mexico border has been rising since last April, and the administration is still rapidly expelling most single adults and families under a public health order issued by President Donald Trump at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. But it is allowing teens and children to stay, at least temporarily, and they have been coming in even larger numbers.

Officials say it’s also likely that smugglers have encouraged people to try to cross under the new administration.

Mayorkas said a surge in the number of children is a challenge for the Border Patrol and other agencies amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden has some other tough challenges to face. Just days after assuming office in January 2017, Trump signed an order banning entry to immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, a move critics said discriminated against Muslims. A federal court blocked the initial ban, but in 2018 the Supreme Court upheld an amended version that has since been expanded to other countries. Biden has said he would reverse the ban.

The Biden administration is working to make the asylum process shorter and to make it possible to petition from an applicant’s home country rather than make a dangerous and uncertain journey. It remains to be seen whether he will succeed in his attempts and keep the Cassandras at bay.

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