U.S. authorities have met with immigrants at the border with Mexico more than 70,000 times in October and November, four times the number in April.
President-elect Joe Biden says it will take months to recapture some of President Donald Trump’s actions on human migration, the antitrust restrictions he has made during his campaign and the fears of lawyers seeking immediate action.
His remarks on Tuesday echoed the actions of his two top foreign policy advisers in an interview with Spanish telephone service EFE on Monday hitting the brakes in reversing Trump’s anti-asylum policies. Susan Rice, Biden’s incumbent domestic policy adviser, and Jake Sullivan, who was elected national security adviser, along with Biden himself, warned that too much travel could create a new border problem.
Speaking to reporters in Wilmington, Delaware on Wednesday, Biden said he had already begun discussing problems with the Mexican president and “our friends in Latin America” and that “a timeline to do it so we could actually do better would not be too bad.”
“The last thing we need to say is that we will stop immediately, reach the shelter, the way it is done now, and end up with 2 million people on our border,” Biden said.
He noted that more funding was needed to enable more asylum seekers to process claims, and promised that although it would work to ease Trump’s asylum restrictions, “it would take about six months to file that.”
His comments come as border crossings have increased in recent months. U.S. authorities have met with immigrants at the border with Mexico more than 70,000 times in October and November, four times the number in April. Some experts predict that the rise could rise in the first months of Biden’s presidency, in response to the damage caused by two hurricanes that hit Central America and the economic collapse of the epidemic, as well as anticipation of a humane migration from the Biden Administration.
Sullivan and Rice both said in an interview with EFE that Biden would take administrative action where possible to deal with immigration problems, and stressed plans to provide assistance and help strengthen Latin American economies in an effort to address the root causes of immigration to the US.
Biden will “work to speed up the process” of Trump’s agreement with Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, which allows the US to deport asylum seekers, and will “follow” his commitment to ending Trump’s time-again repatriation of undocumented immigrants. On his campaign website, Biden promised to terminate the agreement with Mexico, known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, within the first 100 days of his presidency.
But Sullivan stressed that many of those changes will take time.
He warned that “increasing capacity and policy changes at the border would take time,” and warned those considering fleeing the US to wait, predicting it would take “months” for the Biden Administration to fully implement its plans for Latin America.
It will take months before we can fully utilize our programs. ”
This effort will start soon but it will take months to develop the capacity we will need to fully reopen, ”he said.
But Michele Heisler, medical director of Physicians for Human Rights, expressed concern about the pace of change during a press conference on Tuesday and said there should be no “public health feeling” to maintain the extraordinary capacity to expel people from the United States immediately. I have no chance of seeking asylum.
Rice was not committed to when Biden would relinquish the authority, which Trump introduced in March on the grounds that it would contain coronavirus, although reports by The Associated Press and others found that government scientists did not see evidence of it.
However, some lawyers close to the immigrants said on Tuesday that although they understood it would take time to resolve some of Trump’s changes at the border, they emphasized the sense of urgency. They praised Biden’s emphasis on working with Mexico and Central America on joint solutions.
“Biden’s work to end cruelty must begin immediately,” said Linda Rivas, executive director and attorney general of the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso, Texas. “Human rights and dignity must be paramount.”
Guerline Jozef, executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, said this was “a matter of life and death,” as many asylum seekers waited in Mexico’s most violent border towns for their cases to be heard in the United States.
He said in a press conference he was concerned about how many asylum seekers would be allowed to enter Biden “but we are here, ready, determined to make this process work for all those affected.”