Monday, September 26, 2022

Explainer: why is Texas policing its border with Mexico?

AUSTIN, Texas ( Associated Press) — Governor Greg Abbott’s decision to implement additional inspections of trucks entering Texas from Mexico is his latest step in an unprecedented effort at border security, which has long been the domain of the federal government. .

The two-term governor, like many Republican Party leaders, calls illegal immigration and drug trafficking from Mexico a “crisis” and blames President Joe Biden entirely. His latest actions follow the Biden administration’s decision to end pandemic-related restrictions On claiming asylum at the border on May 23.

Here are some facts about conditions at the border and Abbott’s reaction:

How many migrants are showing up at the border?

US Customs and Border Protection intercepted migrants 164,973 times in February, A daily average of around 5,900. Figures for March will be released soon, but CBP said it stopped migrants an average of 7,101 times a day during the week ending March 28.

This is an unusually large number; The last week of March was on pace to set a new monthly high for Biden’s presidency and was the busiest week ever. Border Patrol stopped migrants nearly 1.7 million times in the 12-month period ending September 30 – among the highest since the agency’s founding in 1924 – but that number hides a significant difference.

Since March 2020, more than 1.7 million under Title 42 authorization have been used by US officials to deny migrants the opportunity to seek asylum as required under US law and international treaty, using the threat of COVID-19 The bar has expelled migrants, named for the 1944 public health law. , Expulsion has no legal consequences, which encourages repeat attempts. In the 2021 budget year, more than one in four Migrants were stopped “multiple times” at the border, with repeat crossers stopping an average of more than three times in the previous year. As a result, the number of migrants crossing the border is much less than the number of migrants being stopped by the authorities.

What did Biden do?

The Democratic president slammed several measures introduced by his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump, who called the asylum a “scam” and said the country was “complete.” The Biden administration reversed a rule that generally prohibited domestic and mass violence as grounds of asylum and sent some migrants to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to seek protection there instead of the United States. ended bilateral agreements.

Biden suspended a “stay in Mexico” policy on his first day in office after the Trump administration forced nearly 70,000 asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for US immigration court hearings. They were forced to reinstate the policy in December under a court order, but numbers have been modest., The US Supreme Court will hear arguments on April 26 on whether Biden can end the policy.

With the COVID-19 infection rate falling, the administration announced on April 1 that it would end Title 42 authorization on May 23. Some Democratic members of Congress joined Republican leaders in arguing that the move was premature and that the administration was unprepared. The Department of Homeland Security says it is preparing for 18,000 crossings daily.

On Thursday, 18 states joined a federal lawsuit in Louisiana, Arizona and Missouri to uphold Title 42. Additional states are: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Texas is conspicuously absent.

What is Texas doing?

Last year, Abbott launched a multi-billion dollar border security mission that deployed thousands of state troops and National Guard members, installed new border barriers and jailed migrants for trespassing. Abbott, who is seeking re-election in November, has made it a cornerstone of his administration.

Texas, assuming a role similar to that of California during Trump’s presidency, has been a top legal opponent to immigration policy changes. It joined Missouri in the case before the Supreme Court when it ended “Stay in Mexico”.

After the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that Title 42 authorization was expiring, Abbott began inspecting commercial vehicles in addition to CBP’s independent oversight, causing significant delays and backlash from his pro-business associates. He hired buses to Washington, D.C. for immigrants who volunteered to pick him up.

Abbott did not say whether truck inspectors found illegal drugs or people crossing the border illegally, but about 5% of CBP encounters with migrants are stopped at ports of entry. The vast majority cross in mountains, deserts and cities between official crossings.

Dynamic with drug seizures Fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, and other hard narcotics differ, with rather heavy amounts being confiscated at official crossings. Their small size and lack of smell make them extremely difficult to detect.

Is any of this new under Biden?

No, there have been several spikes in migration since 2014, with a broken asylum system scaring three presidents. The United States becomes the world’s most popular destination For asylum seekers in 2017.

Immigration experts refer to “push” factors that force migrants to leave their homes and “pull” factors to refer to policies in destination countries that can influence decisions about where to go.

“Push” factors include hurricanes, violence, political repression and poverty, while “pull” factors include actual or perceived changes in American policy. A widely cited “pull” factor is a heavily backlogged US asylum system; It takes an immigration judge, on average, four years to decide a claim for those who are not in custody.

last month, The Biden administration unveiled a long-discussed and potentially significant change to expand the authority of asylum officers to make claims, not just preliminary investigations. It’s designed to settle matters in months rather than years, but officials say there’s no additional funding for its launch, with a slow start expected in late May.

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Spaget reported from San Diego.

Nation World News Desk
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