• October 7th, 2022
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Before the Impassable Asylum Wall


David Torres

 

Throughout the long and torturous journey that thousands of asylum-seekers have traveled, a series of official roadblocks have come up that have, literally, impeded them from being able to finally make a formal solicitation. In the process, on the other hand, they have been condemned, reproached, rejected, dehumanized, demonized. And they have also been called “invaders.”

In fact, around 55,000 of the many who have arrived at the southern border of the United States have been included in an unusual, off-the-cuff program that requires them to wait for months in Mexican territory for a response to their asylum claim.

But the program “Remain in México” —also known as Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)—has devolved, almost one year after its creation, into a humanitarian crisis at the border that has caused illnesses, poor nutrition, lack of hygiene, zero economic income, anxiety, depression, and many other mental problems, in addition to turning migrants into targets for organized crime groups that swarm the border region.

In that vein, everything is going wrong, especially for the asylum-seekers who, far from being what populist alarmism has said about them, have not consisted of an invasion to the United States, rather their cases have simply become another statistic of rejection on behalf of the immigration authorities who, without a doubt, echo the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the White House.

Because that tiny 0.1% of asylum cases that are granted, by the U.S. government’s own numbers via Transactional Record Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), represents neither the legal reality in which they should be subscribed under normal circumstances nor is proportional to the number of applicants who, also, continue to accumulate as the days pass.

It is precisely this ridiculous number that cleanly contradicts the official statement that the asylum-seekers who arrived in large caravans constitute an “invasion.”

That is, this “0.1%” only equates, according to TRAC, to 11 cases. Yes: 11 of the almost 50,000 migrants in this program, in which less than 10,000 completed their paperwork and, from that group, 5,085 were denied and 4,471 were dismissed. These 11, obviously, are not an invasion.

On the other hand, according to the most conservative account, more migrants have died in custody during the current administration: 24, in addition to the seven children, whose stories have made the whole world take notice, especially because of the circumstances of their deaths, all of them as a consequence of preventable illnesses, like the flu.

Of course, there is a lawsuit taking place from the Southern Poverty Law Center and Innovation Law Lab Project of Portland, based on the Trump administration’s creation of a “deportation machine.” And it argues that instead of being fair and impartial, judges in Immigration Court respond to the Attorney General, Robert Barr, and they are pushed to deny asylum applications.

In reality, it’s probable that the level of attacks from official channels against migrant communities will not go down, and in fact, it is predictable that this could even tend to increase now that the presidential figure has an “X” on his forehead following the approval of articles of impeachment by the House of Representatives.

At bottom, it is a secret to absolutely no one that the profile of this migration policy is evident, and that it has had no other objective than to terrorize in order to deter other migrants from arriving at the border in search of asylum; but at the same time, it has put into perspective, both nationally and internationally, the real face of the current U.S. government on the question of migration.

But while the exposure of the anti-immigrant strategy takes an ever clearer form, in the legal realm as well as humanitarian, the gravity of the situation at the border becomes ever more symptomatic of other related phenomena, exacerbated by the anxiety of surviving and the confusion in which hundreds of whole families are living today.

This situation especially affects migrant children, who together with their parents had the hope of leaving a violent situation that they suffered in their countries of origin, but have come to find another reality, even worse for many, before the impassable wall of asylum. Without discarding, of course, the disappointment that they must have in this “promised land” that their imaginations had created about this country.

 

David Torres is a Spanish-language Advisor at America’s Voice.

 

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