An Arizona County official spoke of the difficulty of enforcing the southern border shared with Mexico as cartel trade operations intensify.
Yuma County Supervisor Jonathan Lines told Fox News, “This is not a political discussion. This is a national security issue.’
Mr Lines warned that some migrants, who are often fleeing violence and poverty, remain “obligated to the cartel” when they arrive in the United States if they are unable to pay the required transit fees.
This comes after President Biden met Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador during their summit in Mexico last week, after which the president claimed there was “no time” to raise the issue of migration.
Looser border policies since the pandemic have inspired cartels to take advantage of migrants seeking relative safety in the United States.
The Mexican Drug War, a US-led joint effort to bust cartels and end the trafficking in people and drugs, is one of the world’s largest conflicts, raging since 2006 and causing 20,000 casualties in the past year alone.
Migrants to the United States will be processed by the Border Patrol in early January 2023
Mr Biden (L) said there was “no time” to discuss immigration at his meeting with Obrador (C).
This follows comments from Yuma County Mayor last week that President Biden’s crackdown on illegal immigration from Mexico would hardly “move the needle.”
The Republican mayor said it’s a step in the right direction, but without the release of agents to properly patrol the border, it would make little difference.
“It has to be more holistic; it has to be bigger,” he added.
“And really, until we get to enforcement, you’re not going to stop anyone from coming here.”
President Joe Biden visited the Texas border town of El Paso on Sunday, January 8 to witness the full extent of the refugee crisis on the US southern border.
The images, provided to , offer a powerful account of how a frontline city is coping with the more than two million people who tried to cross from Mexico to the United States last year.
The President’s Republican opposition dismissed the visit as a “photo op” without substance.
El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser said he wants to make sure President Joe Biden has a full picture of how the border crisis is affecting his city. So he gave him these pictures
The images show a humanitarian crisis unfolding on American soil. Here a man sleeps under an American Red Cross blanket at the El Paso airport
Migrants protest outside the US consulate in Tijuana on January 9, demanding authorities enact immigration reform and hear their asylum applications while fleeing the violence
What is Title 42 and how will Biden use it to manage the migration?
The Title 42 border restrictions are a public health order that allowed US authorities to turn back most migrants, including people seeking asylum from persecution.
The law was used in 1929 and then again in 2020 to keep communicable diseases out of the country.
The law gave the United States the ability to process migrants faster during the pandemic without having to consider them for asylum.
President Biden tried several times to lift the order before Christmas, but the US announced on January 17 that the restrictions would be extended.
The number of migrants now attempting to cross the US-Mexico border is at its highest in two decades – with an even larger number expected to arrive once the pandemic-era order is lifted.
Many of them were repeat offenders because Title 42 has no legal or criminal penalties.
As the US strives to open more legal avenues for cross-border workers, it will use Title 42 to control the number of migrants crossing the southern border.
However, some public health experts, Democrats and attorneys have criticized the order’s use.
Title 42 is one of two key surviving Trump-era policies to prevent asylum at the border.
While Covid slowed migration north of the border, U.S. Border Patrol encounters with migrants along the border increased from 400,000 in 2020 to 1.6 million in 2021.
Encounters usually result in deportations, often to the last country of transit, or in arrests, with migrants being held in the United States.
Officials warned as of 2021 that lax border policies introduced under the Biden administration have created incentives for human and drug trafficking.
Customs and Border Patrol reported the highest annual number of migrants crossing the southern border of the United States in 2022, at 2.37 million.
Mexican drug cartels are thriving and have significantly expanded their fentanyl production in 2023.
In 2019, for the first time, Mexicans fell to less than half of the United States’ unauthorized immigrant population, according to research from the Pew Research Center, as more departed than arrived.
American governments have struggled in the past to find a lasting, fair, and humane solution to immigration from the southern border.
The US announced yesterday it would extend for temporary relief the controversial Title 42 order used by the Trump administration to curb migration into the country during the pandemic.
The arrangement allows border officials to process migrants faster and even turn back those fleeing persecution.
The last major piece of enduring legislation was the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, signed into law by President Ronald Reagan, which penalizes companies that employ immigrants who cannot legally work in the United States.
But the ambitious goal of “creating a sane, fair, orderly and secure immigration system” did not resonate with politicians.
Migrants entering the United States illegally often do so in dangerous conditions, paying extortionate fees to cartels to avoid violence at home.
The United States cannot return refugees to their country of origin under the United States Refugee Act of 1980, and cooperation with Mexico instead results in Mexico expediting deportation to Central America or the United States deporting Central American migrants to southern Mexico to cross the border to Guatemala.
But the criminal control of regions has led to reports of extortion and sexual violence among internally displaced people, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
BIDEN’S PLAN TO COMBAT THE HISTORICAL MIGRANTS CRISIS
President Joe Biden last week unveiled plans for dealing with migrants arriving at the border with Mexico
- Accept 30,000 migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela every month
- Can come to the US for two years if sponsored, have background checks done, and get a work permit
- Expel migrants from those countries attempting to cross the border illegally and impose a five-year re-entry ban
- Individuals from Mexico and Panama are not eligible for parole in the United States
- Mexico has agreed to take in 30,000 deported migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela every month
- Welcome 20,000 refugees from Latin America and the Caribbean in 2023 and 2024
- Migrants have to make an appointment with a mobile app for appointments at border crossings
- US donates $23 million in humanitarian aid to Mexico and Central America
- Increasing the funds available for border towns and cities that receive an influx of migrants
President Joe Biden meets with members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in El Paso, Texas Sunday, January 8, 2023, his first trip to the U.S.-Mexico border since taking office
US President Joe Biden (L), Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speak after the 10th North American Leaders Summit
The United States remains in a difficult position; Lax border policies incentivize cartels to trade and subjugate migrants, while repatriating migrants south exposes them to further blackmail.
Immigration was initially seen as a priority issue for President Biden, who wanted sweeping reforms that would put 11 million illegal residents in the US on an eight-year path to citizenship beginning January 1, 2021.
On January 9, 2023, the President accused Congress of inaction in reforming naturalization laws.
He said, “Until Congress is over […] A comprehensive immigration plan to fully fix the system, my administration will work to improve things at the border using the tools we now have at our disposal.’
Mexican President Obrador also pledged to end the drug war when he was first elected in 2018, but the country is struggling to do so.
Mexico’s ex-crime boss Genaro García Luna is on trial this week on antitrust bribery charges.
Both the United States and Mexico continue to battle a vague and well-equipped enemy, made possible in part by the demand for drugs and the promise of a better life in the North.