US-Mexico sign agreement to expel migrants amid surge: 10 facts you ought to know

Sep 26, 2023 12:13 PM IST

Mexico and the US have agreed on measures to deter illegal migration, including deporting migrants and increasing border personnel.

American politicians have always described the US as shining city on the top of the hill which has made it the Mecca for migrants – legal and illegal – from across the world which has often put a crunch on resources. Migration has often helped America, to borrow the words of a fictional news anchor, it has helped the US cultivate the world’s greatest economy, but it can put a dampener on proceedings as well. And one area from where the US gets a host of illegal immigrants is Mexico.

Migrants gather near the border wall after crossing the Rio Bravo (Source: Reuters)(REUTERS)
Migrants gather near the border wall after crossing the Rio Bravo (Source: Reuters)(REUTERS)

Illegal immigration from Mexico is one of the most pressing electoral issues in America. More recently, Mexico has agreed to ‘depressurize” its Northern cities, deport migrants from its border cities to their home countries and take several other actions to deter migrants in a new effort to counter the surge.

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Here are 10 points you ought to know about the surge and the measures being taken to contain it:

1) Mexico-US Talks: Mexicans officials met US Customs and Border Protection officials on Friday in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas following the recent surge which caused the closure of a bridge and paused Mexico’s main cargo train. As per the agreement, cities which border El Paso, San Diego and Eagle Pass, Texas, will be “depressurized”. A dozen actions will be taken to prevent migrants from risking their lives.

2) More Federal Resources: The US Department of Defense is increasing its allocation of resources on the border by sending 800 more personnel, adding the 2500 National Guards currently there.

3) Increase in Surge: The move came after migrant crossing increased, surpassing 8,600 in the 24-hour period this week, which includes 3500 border arrests. There were 8000 apprehensions on Monday. The busiest sectors where migrants try to cross over are Del Rio, El Paso, Lower Rio Grande Valley and Tucson, each accounting for 1000 incidents per day.

4) 15 Actions: Mexico has agreed to take 15 actions as part of the agreement including coordinating with Customs and Border Protection, which includes deporting migrants back to their home countries by land and air. Mexico will carry out talks with the governments of Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba to confirm receipt of migrants deported from the US-Mexico border. The move will also allow US border patrols to expel migrants through the Ciudad Juarez International Bridge, which connects to El Paso.

5) Migrants Deported: Mexico says they have departed 788,000 migrants to their home countries from January to September. The recent actions have raised questions about what the Mexico was doing earlier given the influx which has strained federal resources.

6) Long Trek To America: Immigrants often face a long and dangerous trek with hopes – often false – of reaching America. Many are from Latin America, where conditions have deteriorated post the pandemic.

7) Mexican Families Crossing Over: US government data says even Mexican families are coming to the border to seek asylum. In July 2022, Customs and Border Protection figures say 4,000 Mexican family at the border, a number that has increased to 22,000 this year.

8) Title 42: A surge like this hasn’t been seen since last spring, just before the Biden administration’s new border management policies. The officials line was that there would be more migration as fast-track border expulsion protocols were relaxed during the pandemic under Title 42 of the US code which came to an end later. Title 42 of the United States Code addresses public health, social welfare and civil rights, a rarely-used clause of the 1944 Public Health Services Law which the Trump administration used to prevent migrants from entering the US. Title 42 grants the government to use emergency action to stop the “introduction of communicable diseases”. The Trump administration used the clause 380,000 times to expel migrants.

9) New Strategies: The increases come at a time when the Biden administration is coming up with a strategy to bolster legal options while cracking down on border enforcement.

The increases in unauthorized migration this week comes as the Biden administration pushes its strategy of bolstering legal options for immigration while cracking down on border enforcement. Officials say the administration remains bound by old legislative frameworks and budget restrictions that limit its ability to process migrants and provide work permits for asylum seekers. Those applying for asylum must wait 180 days before becoming eligible for a work permit.

10) Cartels: Many of the migrants are often the victims of transnational criminal organizations which runs rings of human smuggling whose operations include ‘hard-core recruiting, transporting” and “Financial exploitation of people across the western hemisphere”.


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