Leaning on the legacy Trump left him, Biden clenches his fists at Mexico border

US troops secure the border with Mexico in El Paso, Texas on December 31.Giovanna Dell’Orto (AP)

President Joe Biden will visit the border this Sunday for the first time since taking the White House. His brief stay in El Paso, en route to a summit of North American leaders in Mexico City, will be marked by the legacy Donald Trump left him. The Democratic president has spent two years trying to shape immigration policy, but reality has forced him to follow the script written by his predecessor. Specifically regarding Title 42, a health care regulation that Biden sought to get rid of but was forced to maintain by the Justice Department. This Thursday, he announced that border management would be tightened. Access will be granted to 30,000 migrants with a sponsor in the United States, but the country will send the same number of people each month to Mexico to meet their needs.

The end of 2022 was particularly difficult at the border. The year ended with the highest number of illegal immigrants seen since World War II. More than two million encounters took place, a discourse of apprehensions by Border Patrol agents. The flow was spurred by what the Department of Homeland Security called an “unprecedented exodus” of people leaving Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. “These are countries in crisis and with repressive authoritarian regimes that do not accept large-scale returns of their citizens,” Blas Núñez Neto, the secretary of border policy and immigration for Homeland Security, said Friday.

Every day, at the border, US officials have counted 7,000 to 8,000 daily encounters with irregular immigrants, the official assured. “We are also seeing a significant increase in maritime migration from Cuba and Haiti. Border Patrol resources are being exhausted,” Nunez Neto said. President Biden complained to reporters Thursday that Republicans have rejected the border plan, which includes $3.5 billion and funding to hire 200 new officers to process asylum claims, as well as create 100 new immigration judges.

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So without the possibility of a return to the largest group of people coming to the Americas, Mexico is forced to play the uncomfortable role of a dormitory for its neighbors to the north. It has risen Pressure on an increasingly saturated Mexican aid system. In parallel, both governments are announcing measures to alleviate the humanitarian crisis at the border, above all, opening their arms to legal visa quotas. The latest package was announced by Biden this Thursday He is walking in that direction as a step towards a summit that will bring him together with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Biden announced 24,000 humanitarian visas for Venezuelans in October., one of the most developed nationalities among immigrants. The measure, which replicates measures to help Ukrainian immigration, was last week extended to 30,000 visas per month for people coming from Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua or Haiti. The other side of the coin would be severe penalties for those who don’t meet the established criteria: they would be “expeditiously” deported and barred from entering the United States for five years.

Migration will be one of the main axes of the agenda, where a plan to invest 23 million dollars in development cooperation, the core of a new migration agreement aimed at tackling the socioeconomic roots of migration, will be detailed in advance. But some civic organizations have criticized the US president’s new announcement. Colectivos are taking Washington’s announcement to allow 30,000 citizens to leave because the government has been unable to fulfill some of its previous promises. This includes an increase in the number of refugees the United States will host in the coming years. Still an unattainable figure Announced in September 2021.

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“The new visas are an important point in favor of Mexico, which was able to launch a definitive agreement after several negotiations and in line with its objectives to expand legal channels for migration,” says Eurydice Renton, a security expert. “The profile of Central American or Caribbean immigrants is not that of Ukrainians, and it is realistic to ask them for a passport, a minimum income or to come by plane,” he adds. Although Venezuela has recorded a significant drop in irregular entries of migrants, U.S. officials have yet to release specific data on the number of visas they actually issued.

to Professor of Global Studies at the New School in New York, Alexandra Delano said, “Increasing the visa limit is positive, but it is not enough. A structural change is needed, a deep reform that addresses the increasingly vast and complex phenomenon of migration beyond the logic of security and border control. “For example, we don’t see much investment, the effort of resources continues to fall mainly on civilian organizations,” says Delano.

However, the border has more margins beyond humanity. Security will be another cause of friction between the leaders. Biden warned on Thursday that US customs officials had seized more than nine kilograms of fentanyl since August, “enough to kill 1,000 people,” according to the president. The DEA, the drug enforcement agency, has pledged to seize more than 379 million lethal doses (two milligrams are enough) of the synthetic opioid by 2022 for the entire population of the United States (enough to kill more than 330 million people). ). The items seized by authorities last year were twice as many as those seized in 2021.

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The DEA blames the epidemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 Americans in the past 12 months, on drug trafficking promoted by the Sinaloa and Jalisco Nueva Generación cartels. These companies manufacture the chemical with precursors purchased from China. This Thursday, Sinaloa experienced terrible moments after Mexican armed forces captured Ovidio Guzmán, also known as El Radon, one of the leaders of the Sinaloan cartel. His capture coincides with Biden’s arrival.

Mexico and the United States opened earlier last year A new bilateral security plan, the Bicentennial Treaty, More overturned on paper for deterrence and cooperation; And the budgets allocated to the bilateral migration agenda depend to a large extent. “At this point we’ve seen more rhetorical announcements than concrete changes,” Renton says. Meanwhile, Mexico continues to increase its deportation numbers and both its southern and northern borders are equally or more heavily fortified than they were under Trump. Between October and November, López Obrador deployed more than 32,000 troops between the army and the National Guard, a record for the past two years. On the other side of the border, on American soil, the line is militarized. This is how 2022 ended.

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