On August 2nd, the US government announced it would indefinitely maintain Title 42, which allows for the accelerated deportation of migrants.
HAVANA TIMES – On Monday, August 2, the US government announced that the statute known as Title 42 would remain in force indefinitely. This law allows for the accelerated deportation of would-be asylum seekers. The decision was made because of the increase in undocumented migrants arriving at the US southern border, and also the rise in COVID-19 cases in the country.
The measure was first passed by the Trump administration in 2020 at the onset of the pandemic. Now, Joe Biden is again ratifying it, amid reports of saturated hospital emergency rooms in the country, due to the new Delta variant of the virus.
“As part of the mitigation efforts for COVID-19, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will continue processing people in accordance with Title 42, recently ratified by the Center for Disease Control,” states the DHS memo.
Rommel Lopez, activist and specialist in migration laws, also reminded the public that the US Customs and Border Patrol Office recently issued a temporary alert to travelers inside and outside the US. The only travelers who can enter overland through any border station are returning citizens or residents, individuals entering for medical reasons, students, essential workers, active members of the military and their families, or travel for emergency, business or diplomatic reasons.
Although migration has always been a choice that entails different risks, these recent measures pose greater threats to the life and safety of the undocumented. The US protective protocols for avoiding more contagion from the Coronavirus means an extended wait for migrants trying to enter the United States. This represents a clear danger, since there are numerous cases of rapes, kidnappings and killings in the border regions.
A highly publicized recent case involved the Ampie Machado family, twice kidnapped by members of the Mexican cartels during their journey towards the United States. Their families in Nicaragua had to pay large sums of money to free all of them so they could continue on.
“At this moment, I don’t think migration to the US is very feasible. Not only because of the new regulations, but for the high degree of danger that people face on the road. We had two people killed by gunfire just yesterday, plus the young man who fell off the train and the Ampie Machado family who were kidnapped twice, among other cases,” warned an exile who asked to remain anonymous.
“Undertaking this kind of crossing is a very personal decision. Many people have terrifying stories, not only from outside, but also from inside the detention centers, where there are also human rights violations,” continued the exiled Nicaraguan. This individual had some advice for those considering migration: “Before attempting to migrate, think twice about it, because being deported back to Nicaragua is a real possibility, especially for those who don’t have sufficient proof of their cases to receive asylum.”
The source said the roots of the problem need to be examined: “Why are our people coming? Because of the current repression, and very reasonably so. The [US] government should be applying maximum pressure on the Nicaraguan government, so that our people don’t have to leave the country, causing the US to experience a glut of immigrants at all its border stations. Many of them sleep in the streets, and live hand to mouth, with their young children exposed to countless dangers.”
Organizations that work with migrants also warn of the risks of traveling at this particular time. “The American Dream has become a nightmare for thousands of Nicaraguans who risk their lives. At this moment, there aren’t adequate conditions for entering through the border posts. The new wave of COVID-19 has triggered a reactivation of Title 42, and [would-be migrants] are being returned to Mexico. The flights full of deportees are once more being seen,” warned the Nicaraguan-American Human Rights Alliance a few days ago.