Entering Limbo, Migrants Cross U.S. Border

Entering Limbo, Migrants Cross U.S. Border

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La Joya, Texas: (By: Sheheryar Madni)

They come from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Venezuela and Romania, all seeking the same thing: refuge in the United States.

At least 90 migrants, including a group of unaccompanied minors, waited in La Joya, Texas, on Thursday (May 6) to be transported by agents to a U.S. border patrol processing facility.

The Biden administration has been grappling in recent months with a sharp rise in migrant crossings at the border, including unaccompanied minors and families with young children, mostly from Central America.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris are due to explore ways of tackling undocumented immigration in talks on Friday (May 7).

Mexico has been pressing Washington to invest in Central America and southern Mexico to create incentives for people not to migrate, as well as for the United States to create a pathway to legal residency or citizenship for immigrant workers.

The United States has begun rolling out a new system to identify and admit the most vulnerable migrants at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to three people briefed on the matter.

The new system, which started at the port of entry in El Paso, Texas, this week, creates a more formal process that allows pre-screened asylum seekers to enter the United States on humanitarian grounds, despite a broad policy of expulsions at the border.

The expulsion policy was put in place under former Republican President Donald Trump in March 2020, citing public health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. President Joe Biden has not revoked it.

As of Wednesday (May 5), roughly two dozen migrants had been admitted through the program, two sources said, and the number of people allowed to enter going forward will depend on the capacity to safely process them at the ports. The numbers will likely be limited, however, because of the non-profit groups’ capacity to screen migrants who might be eligible.

The move illustrates the struggle Biden is facing – while his administration is declaring the southern border closed to hopeful migrants, the number of apprehensions has reached a 20-year high.

Border patrol picked up nearly 170,000 migrants between ports of entry in March and made a similar number of arrests in April, according to two people briefed on preliminary figures.

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