In the U.S., economic circumstances influence the record number of migrant arrests

The Border Patrol achieved the highest number of arrests in its history, 1.7 million. Joe Biden "welcomed" the migrants and some considered that it was the ideal moment to migrate.

In the U.S., economic circumstances influence the record number of migrant arrests
Economic circumstances influence record number of migrant arrests in the U.S. Photo by Barbara Zandoval / Unsplash

The adjustment to the hardened discourse against migrants in Donald Trump's administration, the implementation of the "Remain in Mexico" program (which forces asylum seekers to wait for the process in our country), as well as the "Title 42" (public health regulation used to return families that arrive at the border due to the risk of the pandemic), and the positioning towards the mid-term elections in November, had an impact in reaching a historical record of detentions.

This, according to Paz Consuelo Márquez-Padilla, of the Center for Research on North America (CISAN) of the UNAM, refers to the 1.7 million detentions, a figure that according to the government of Joe Biden achieved during the fiscal year 2021.

"Biden printed softer language and gave 'welcome' to migrants, and many considered it the ideal time to leave for the United States. They misunderstood that the temporary protection (which was the 'Remain in Mexico' program), was not for those seeking to enter for the first time, but for the illegal migrant who has lived in the U.S. for some time," she said.

The flow of Mexican nationals increased because the day before Donald Trump imposed a language against them and that affected them. The migration of citizens from Haiti and Venezuela increased, followed by Guatemala and Honduras. Title 42, the public health and welfare statute enacted in 1944, determines whether a contagious disease in a foreign nation poses a danger of spreading in the neighboring country to the north, either by persons or goods entering.

Therefore, in the name of "public health", the border was closed to migrants, which is why they are immediately expelled "to prevent the spread of COVID-19". President Joe Biden asked to urgently deport only those who represent a threat to security; however, the measure continues with the argument that they come from places where the health emergency is very strong. The number of those seeking to enter U.S. territory has increased due to the consequences of the pandemic in their places of origin: precariousness, violence, insecurity, and economic crisis.

Election year

Given this situation, the U.S. president has received various criticisms from members of the Republican Party and his supporters in the Democratic Party. "The Democrats themselves feel disillusioned because he has not done enough, but on the other hand, the Republicans believe that he is not applying the law, that he is not offering the security that is required at the border", insisted the university expert.

We must not lose sight of the fact that in November there will be legislative midterm elections, and therefore this has a political connotation.

"Biden does not want to talk so much about the protection of migrants, about the path to citizenship that he promised; all of that has been stalled in Congress because he does not want the Republicans to have a banner to take back the parliament," stressed Marquez-Padilla.

In contrast, unemployment has gone down, we are referring to at least six million jobs due to the resignation and retirement of U.S. employees. Due to the above, H2-B visas increased, corresponding to workers who are in non-agricultural areas, so paradoxically it is a time of work opportunity, but it must be done with temporality, order, and benefit for both countries, she concluded.