UNITED STATES: According to officials familiar with the plans, the Biden administration is thinking about holding migrant families who enter the US illegally as it gets ready to lift COVID-19 restrictions at the US-Mexico boundary.
Officials from the Department of Homeland Security are talking about how to deal with the expected rise in migrants at the border once the pandemic restrictions that have been in place since 2020 are lifted in May. Officials say that detention is one of several ideas that are being thought about, but nothing has been decided.
According to one official, if families were detained, they would only be kept for brief periods, possibly just a few days, and their cases would be processed quickly through immigration court. The officials spoke on the condition that they could not be named because they were not allowed to talk about private talks in public.
Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary for the White House, refrained from commenting on “rumors” that the policy was being thought about. “I’m not saying that it is, I’m not saying that it’s not,” she said. She remained silent when asked if President Joe Biden thought holding families in detention was humane.
At the moment, families who show up at the US-Mexico border are let into the country and told to go to immigration court later. Few families were detained during the height of the pandemic, but US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials are now using those facilities to detain lone adults who cross the border without authorization.
Immigration advocates laughed at the idea of putting families back in detention, pointing to studies that show how bad it is for kids and families to be in detention. They had been told that families would no longer be detained, many people said they were shocked to learn of the possibility.
Following Biden’s announcement on January 5 that people from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela who crossed the border illegally would be sent back to Mexico, illegal border crossings drastically decreased.
The administration also declared that up to 30,000 citizens of those four nations could enter the country each month if they submitted an online application, showed up at an airport, and had a financial sponsor.
On the Mexican border, the border patrol detained migrants 128.410 times in January, a 42% decrease from December, which was the busiest month on record. Although statistics for February have not yet been made public, one of the officials told the AP that about 130,000 migrants had been stopped.
The Biden administration said last month that it would usually deny asylum to migrants who come to the US southern border without first asking for protection in a country they passed through. This was similar to an effort by the Trump administration that was blocked by the courts and never went into effect.
But the majority of these initiatives have little impact on families, who are given different treatment because their children are traveling. But as more unaccompanied child migrants arrive, parents who worry about detention may start sending their kids alone.
Also Read: Supreme Court Overturns Biden Administration’s Immigration Policy