A Snapshot of the US-Mexico Border Before Harris Visit | Voice of America



WASHINGTON – Kamala Harris is due to visit the US-Mexico border on Friday for the first time since becoming Vice President of the United States and was instrumental in the Biden administration’s response to a strong increased migration for decades.

Harris travels to El Paso, Texas with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Previously, she had traveled to the southern border as the United States Senator and Attorney General of California. Republican lawmakers sharply criticized her for failing to address critical border issues firsthand as vice president.

Earlier this month, Harris visited Guatemala where she spoke of the Biden administration’s determination to tackle the root causes of migration. he White House is proposing a multi-billion dollar aid program to address the economic and security challenges in the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Here’s a look at the current situation and the most recent trends at the US-Mexico border.

Border encounters, deportations

The most recent enforcement data from US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shows 180,034 migrants were apprehended along the US-Mexico border in May, a slight increase from 178,622 the previous month.

Single adults continue to be the source of most of these encounters. In May, CBP removed 112,302 foreign nationals under Title 42, a directive put in place under the former Trump administration that gives CBP the power to deport migrants who enter the country without authorization during the pandemic of coronavirus. The Biden administration changed the directive to allow unaccompanied minors and some families with young children to apply for asylum in the United States.

US authorities also saw 10,765 unaccompanied children in May, up from 13,940 in April.

The totals for June will be released in early July.

US to speed up immigration files for families at southern border

The border patrol had more than 170,000 encounters in April, its highest count since March 2001

Young migrants in detention in the United States

As of June 23, the number of unaccompanied migrant children detained in the United States stood at nearly 16,000. According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), approximately 1,000 minors were detained in the centers. border patrol detention, while 14,900 migrant children were in the care of HHS.

Harris will also have the chance to visit children detained at an emergency shelter at the US military base at Fort Bliss in El Paso. Numerous reports have documented inhumane and deplorable conditions at the facility.

Earlier this week, the BBC reported reports of overcrowding, slow and inadequate medical treatments for communicable diseases and parasite infestations, a lack of clean clothes and undercooked food.

In recent court cases, migrant children detained at the facility have described severe physical and emotional distress leading to depression and, in some cases, risk of suicide.

In a court document filed earlier this month, an unaccompanied 13-year-old Honduran migrant said: “I was held in a large white tent with nylon walls. The tent was so cold that everyone called it a freezer. … Several times I have been given bloody raw chicken. I remember that during a meal, my friend received some chicken that still had feathers and she had to remove the feathers.

The Fort Bliss facility was first used to house migrants detained under the Trump administration.

On Wednesday, an HHS spokesperson said the agency had taken steps to improve conditions at Fort Bliss and all emergency influx sites.

“Children are provided nutritionally appropriate meals and there are now more than 50 mental health professionals on site in Fort Bliss and counselors at all other emergency influx sites,” the door said. spoken in an e-mail to VOA.

Asylum applications

US law provides asylum to people facing persecution in their home country on the basis of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership of a particular group.

Although there are two types of asylum – affirmative and defensive – not all asylum requests come from migrants arriving at the border. An immigrant can apply for affirmative asylum within one year of their last arrival in the United States or apply for defensive asylum while fighting a deportation order.

According to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a research center that collects and analyzes data on the activities of immigration courts, so far in 2021 there have been 15,320 decisions of asylum in which 10,578 cases were refused aid and 4,488 in which humanitarian aid was granted. Twenty-five cases gave rise to other forms of relief.

Current state of the wall

President Joe Biden suspended construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border on his first day in office. Hundreds of kilometers of border barriers were erected or reinforced under the Trump administration.

A “#HUGS NOT WALLS” banner is displayed along the border wall as part of the 8th annual event on the Rio Grande, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on June 19, 2021.

On June 11, the White House announced plans to return more than $ 2 billion in funds the previous administration redirected from the Pentagon to help pay for the wall.

As a presidential candidate last year, Biden criticized the construction of new walls. Testifying recently on Capitol Hill, Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas reported that the administration was considering strengthening existing physical barriers. He said DHS is “studying the construction of a border wall” and officials are looking at gaps in the wall to determine the best way to secure the border.



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