Democrats treated Donald Trump’s immigration policies as paranoid, supremacist and xenophobic. They were horrified by the trickster rhetoric, those straw man appeals, the wall stories, the insults. But the situation has not improved. On the contrary, as his successor, Joe Biden, completes two months in the White House, the problems at the border begin to pile up, drain resources and test the sweet election messages, the blue seduction tune of November 3.
There are more people crowded in the desert, trying to cross the “raya” or surrendering to the “migra”, than in the last twenty years. The number of families and unaccompanied minors seeking asylum has increased 168% and 63% since the Democrats came to the White House. Biden’s critics claim that the growth of the human tide is related to the “call effect”, since the new Administration promised to be more benevolent.
At the moment there are more than 4,000 children in shelters. They forget that in 2019 Trump faced a similar tide. The Administration and majorities in the legislature promise consensus reform. Something unheard of since Ronald Reagan pushed through his reform and naturalized millions. Biden and Nancy Pelosi want to open the door to legal residency and future citizenship for millions of individuals.
Regulation of “dreamers” on hold
The Republicans, pressured by the figure of Trump, aware that this is fertile material to exploit in rallies and gatherings and that the Democrats ride their own contradictions, promise that they will not support the most theoretically feasible measures, such as the attempt to resolve the entrenched situation of the “dreamers”, two million children and young people without US citizenship, who arrived with their parents and have grown up and studied in the United States. Many of them do not know any other country.
“Heavens, no,” exclaimed Senator Lindsey Graham, a decisive interlocutor in considering a hypothetical agreement, when asked if he is in favor of the plan approved in Congress. The bills, which seek to provide a way out for both “dreamers” and agricultural workers, a total of 3 million people, will die as soon as they reach the Senate.
In Congress, almost a dozen Republicans were in favor of regularizing the situation of the “dreamers” and 30 voted in favor of the plan for the sharecroppers. But their positions will not be echoed in the Upper House. Neither Graham nor his colleagues will support anything until the uncertainty at the border is resolved. Dreamers will have to wait, perhaps indefinitely. There will always be a surge at hand to justify opposition.
The White House, beset by instability, is buying time through the use of Executive Order 42, a demonized order that Trump pushed through in March 2020 and was criticized by the same people who are now using it. A decree, after all, covered by the emergency situation created by covid-19, and which allows officers at the border to ignore asylum requests, a legally recognized right, to expel those “without papers”.
It allows border agents to ignore asylum claims, arguing that cross-border travel is not essential as long as the health alert remains in effect. Molly O’Toolle, of the Los Angeles Times, recalled that an investigation by the newspaper has shown that of the more than 650,000 people apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border, “less than 1% have been able to seek protection”. The verb counts: that they have been able to seek it does not mean that they get it. 530,000 people were deported, “including nearly 16,000 children traveling alone and almost 34,000 children with their parents. According to the Los Angeles newspaper, only 120 people have managed to start the process and have a chance, “albeit limited, of obtaining the asylum protection that allows them to remain in the U.S.”.