The United States warned on Thursday that its border with Mexico was not “wide open”, before the lifting at 11:59 p.m. of a measure locking access to its territory since the start of the pandemic, a change that confuses many migrants and could, according to the authorities, cause a “chaotic” situation.
Will there be an influx? Faced with the Republicans who overwhelm it and demand the maintenance of this measure, “Title 42”, the government of Democrat Joe Biden recalls in particular that new restrictions on the right of asylum have been adopted.
“I want to be very clear: our border is not wide open. People crossing our border illegally and without a legal basis to stay will be immediately (…) deported,” Homeland Security Minister Alejandro Mayorkas said at a press conference at the White House.
However, “we are lucid about the challenges that we are likely to face in the days and weeks to come and we are ready to respond to them,” he added, noting that “a high number of 'arrivals' had already been observed 'in certain sectors'.
President Biden himself recently claimed that the situation will be “chaotic for a while”.
To prepare, the federal state has mobilized “more than 24,000 officers and law enforcement officers” at the border, in addition to 4,000 soldiers.
Thursday, in the border town of Brownsville, Texas, migrants crossed the border sporadically in groups of 20, according to an AFP journalist on the spot.
'Title 42' is due to be lifted at 11:59 p.m. Washington time, but some migrants are rushing to cross the border some 3,000 miles before that deadline to claim asylum, fearing the change in rules will prevent them from doing so. for five years.
Title 42, which was supposed to limit the spread of COVID-19, gave US authorities the option of immediately turning back all migrants who entered the country, including asylum seekers. asylum. In three years, it has been used 2.8 million times.
New restrictions on asylum, finalized by the US Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, will go into effect Thursday evening.
Before reporting to the border, asylum seekers, with the exception of unaccompanied minors, must now have obtained an appointment on a telephone application set up by the border guards, or have been refused asylum in one of the countries crossed during their migratory journey.< /p>
Otherwise, their request will be presumed illegitimate and they may be subject to an accelerated deportation procedure, barring them for five years from entering American soil.
Faced with changes in migratory systems, rumors spread by smugglers and a complex online procedure, the migrants who pile up in northern Mexico bear witness to a puzzle.
Tears and frustrations
The “CBP One” application, designed to centralize asylum requests in the United States, is at the heart of the frustrations of migrants at the border, where telephones, wifi and electricity are a luxury.
To because of its frequent bugs, “it's a nightmare, a real ordeal. This app undermines us emotionally and psychologically,” says Juan Pavon, a trader who fled Venezuela with his family, while his 14-year-old daughter Ana Paola cries bitterly: an app update erased all her data. .
The migrants come mainly from Latin America but also from China, Russia or Turkey.
Meet in downtown El Paso, Luis Rodriguez, 24, from Venezuela, explains that he does not enough money to pay for transport to Washington, where he wants to join friends. -il.
The Democratic executive is keen, on the burning subject of immigration, to display a balanced policy, while the Republicans accuse Joe Biden, a new candidate for 2024, of having transformed the border in “sieve”.
Thus, for the former Republican President Donald Trump, “Joe Biden has officially abolished what was left of the borders of America”.
In order to encourage legal channels of immigration, Washington has planned to eventually open a hundred centers abroad to study the files on the spot. The first are planned in Colombia and Guatemala.