Security alert on Mexico border as US asylum rules change


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Thousands of migrants are gathering on the Mexico border in a bid to cross illegally into the United States in the run-up to the end of COVID-19 border restrictions known as Title 42 on May 11.

It is latest twist in the ongoing security issue which has troubled the US and its central American neighbour.

The Title 42 border policy changes just before midnight and no longer allows American authorities to expel asylum seekers without a chance to lodge a claim.

The policy was implemented in March 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to discourage large scale movements of people.

According to one Reuters report: “In Matamoros, Mexico, migrants purchased pool floats and life jackets to prepare to cross the Rio Grande River into Brownsville, Texas, said migrant rights activist Gladys Canas.

“And in Tijuana, across from San Diego, California, migrants formed long lines in front of a towering border fence on Monday, with the aim of turning themselves in to U.S. border agents.”

The US has been able to expel hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants to Mexico without going through the asylum system.

President Joe Biden is allowing Title 42 policy to lapse, as the broader COVID-19 public health emergency ends.

Reuters reports: “Biden, who is seeking reelection in 2024, has struggled with the record numbers of migrants arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“His public approval ratings stood at 40% in recent days, close to the lowest level since he took office in 2021, with Americans unhappy about his handling of immigration and inflation, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll showed.

“Republicans have criticized him for rolling back many of the more restrictive policies of Republican former President Donald Trump, the leading candidate for his party’s nomination.

“While Biden has kept Title 42 in place until now, not all migrants caught crossing the border illegally have been expelled, with more than half in recent months allowed into the U.S. to pursue their immigration cases.

Illegal border crossings have climbed and more migrants are coming in the hopes they will now be allowed to apply for asylum in the United States after Title 42 ends.

Border towns and cities are struggling to provide housing and transportation to the thousands arriving each day.

The Democrats plan tough new rules deny asylum to most migrants caught crossing if they passed through Mexico or failed to use other US legal pathways.

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