They fled poverty, war and violence in their home countries. They dream of reaching America. They risk everything to make this dream come true. In summary, this is the story of thousands of immigrants at the U.S. southern border.
The U.S. border with Mexico, which extends 3,145 kilometers, is one of the President Joe Biden’s big problems.
People from northern Central America and other regions in crisis pay thousands of dollars to secretly cross the U.S. southern border and enter the United States.
In contrast, many Americans see immigrants as a real threat to their jobs and lives.
Facts and Numbers
There are between 11 and 12 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States, the Center for Migration Studies of New York revealed.
This population has been essentially flat for the last decade, according to the same source.
On the other hand, the numbers of migrants who attempted to cross the border varied from year to year:
1.6 million people tried to cross the border illegally in 2000, the Pew Research analysis showed.
After 4 years, there were 1,139,282 apprehensions of immigrants on the southern border, as claimed by the office of immigration statistics.
It is worth noting that the number of total apprehensions is used as a basic measure of migration pressure and border enforcement.
In 2010, the total annual apprehensions at the Southwest border has declined to 427,766.
During 2017, the first year of Trump’s inauguration, the number recorded its lowest decline since 1971, (303,916) due to the “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
The Trump administration warned that anyone found entering the country illegally will face arrest, prosecution and deportation.
In 2020, there were 400,651 apprehensions, as indicated by Pew Research Center.
However, the United States Border Patrol agents have seen a rise in the number of migrants trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in recent months.
Last month, U.S. agents took more than 171,000 migrants into custody, which means that border arrests and detentions have doubled since January, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Observers believe that coronavirus, hurricanes and economic crisis in Central American countries, are among the reasons that motivated this rise.
Immigrants also think that Joe Biden will loosen some border restrictions put in place by Trump.
Biden took office promising a more welcoming approach to immigrants. He announced a 100-day deportation moratorium, canceled Trump policies restricting asylum, and proposed a new immigration bill.
In addition, the Biden administration has formed a task force and pledged to bring back deported parents to reunite with their children.
“The Beautiful Wall”
During 2016 election campaign, Trump promised to build “a big, beautiful wall” to stop the illegal immigrants and drugs over the border with Mexico.
In January 2017, Trump formally directed to begin wall construction along the U.S.–Mexico border.
The wall is still under construction. There were some beliefs that the new administration will stop the process, but the Secretary of Homeland Security pointed out recently that the construction of the wall may continue.
A February 2017 study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that the majority of Americans oppose building this wall.
In other words, 43 percent of respondents think a border wall “would not have much impact on illegal immigration.”
What Is Happening With Children?
Many families have decided to send their young children across the border alone, so the kids won’t be expelled.
Currently, the Biden administration is expelling all immigrants arriving in the U.S, except children who arrive by themselves.
Concerning minors, CBP took in more than 18,800 unaccompanied minors in March, a 99 percent increase from February.
These children face so many hardships on their own. They are scared and very sad.
By law, these minors must be taken into Border Patrol custody (72 hours), then transferred to the custody of Health and Human Services.
Human Rights Watch revealed more than once that the kids face “inhumane treatment at the border”.
“They were overcrowded in metal cages, others sleeping under foil blankets”, the non-governmental organization mentioned.
Some images from inside the detention camps showed children inside cages, separated from their parents and nowhere to go / nothing to do.
Under President Biden, the conditions are not known since journalists have not yet been permitted inside the camps.
The Biden administration has said that these detention camps are “no place for children” and that they are exploring alternatives.