Illegal immigrants deported to Mexico from the United States as part of Trump-era policy said they thought President Biden would let them stay in America.
They were instead sent back across the border under a COVID-19 policy of the administration of former President Donald Trump as illegal immigration increased in Biden’s early months as president.
“Biden promised us that everything would change,” 48-year-old Gladys Oneida Pérez Cruz from Honduras told the New York Times after she was deported from the United States to Mexico. “He hasn’t done it yet, but he will be a good president for migrants.”
The Biden government has released unaccompanied minors, but in order to counter an increase in illegal border crossings, it drops adult detainees and families on a bridge and tells them to return to Mexico.
Pérez and her 23-year-old son Henry, who has cerebral palsy, hired smugglers to transport them across the border shortly after Biden’s inauguration in January. The smugglers allegedly said the border was open and they would help their disabled son – but neither was true.
Pérez’s sister in Maryland paid $ 9,000, but the family were arrested and forced to return to Mexico. They told the Times that they intend to return to Central America.
The Times photographed another group of migrants forced to return to Mexico in no shoes after being arrested for illegally entering the United States.
This group also felt that the new president would welcome them.
“Biden promised us!” One unidentified woman was labeled disappointed.
This group included Jenny Contreras, a 19 year old from Guatemala with her 3 year old daughter. She said her husband was a butcher in Chicago.
Migrants who attribute their travels to Biden’s rhetoric follow similar remarks from Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who said this month: “You see him as a migrant president and so many believe they will reach the United States.”
Last month, Biden ended Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy of requiring Central American asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while US courts reviewed their claims. However, new Central American migrants are not yet welcome without an appointment.
Biden halted his predecessor’s Mexican border wall and passed a resolution confirming the 2012 postponed Childhood Arrivals Program, which provides work permits and protection from deportation for those illegally brought into the United States as minors
Biden also proposed laws to provide a route to citizenship for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. House Democrats are planning to vote on bills this week to give legal status to farm workers currently deprived of government permits and to give citizenship to people illegally brought to the United States as minors.
Although most adults and families are turned away, the Biden government allows unaccompanied minors to stay, at least temporarily.
In February, 29,792 unaccompanied children, 2,942 of whom were under the age of 12, crossed the border without their parents, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. That is five times more than the 5,871 unaccompanied minors in January.
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Biden’s government eased COVID-19 physical distance rules in youth accommodation after opening two overflow facilities for minors.
The total number of people arrested at the Mexican border rose to over 100,000 in February, a 28 percent increase from January. In February, 72,113 people were deported, CBP said.