Migrants at the US-Mexico border were spotted wearing shirts that read “Biden, please let us in!” while gathering en-masse in Tijuana, kneeling and praying for US border officials to let them in.
The shirts mimic the design from Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign, and serve as a message – and a plea – from desperate migrants squatting in tents and encampments waiting their turn to be allowed to cross over.
According to the Wall Street Journal, hundreds of immigrants have been camped out at a plaza in Tijuana just across from the US border.
Honduran native Francisca Aguilar Garcia told the Journal that she and her family had been sleeping on the sidewalk for the past few weeks.
“We have to be here in case they call my number,” Aguilar said to the WSJ, referring to the “queue numbers” that migrants in the encampments south of the border are given when they first arrive, to mark their spot on the list of those who wish to cross over to the US and seek asylum.
Aguilar is hoping that she and her husband, two sons, and nephew will be able to enter the US. The family is fleeing from local gangs in Honduras, and was forced to go on the run when hits were placed on her sons and nephew, after her father and brother were killed.
A perilous journey to the border
Aguilar is one of many migrants who have traveled north to the Tijuana plaza to await their chance to cross the border legally. Like Aguilar, these people often undertake a perilous journey to the border in a bid to escape crises – including gang violence, severe poverty, and natural disasters – back home.
Another migrant the WSJ spoke to, Berta Lidia Caballero Fernandez, 28, said she had been living in the Tijuana plaza for over a month after hearing rumors that Biden would let people cross the border soon. She has hung a sign above her family’s tent. It reads, in Spanish: “President Joe Biden my parents and I are running from danger in our country and here. Help us please.”
Insider previously reported that Biden last week told migrants from Central America to not leave their homes to come to the US, particularly after reports of a massive surge in migrants at the southern border of the US.
“Yes, I can say quite clearly: Don’t come over… in the process of getting set up, don’t leave your town or city or community,” said Biden in the televised interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News last week.
Unprecedented numbers of people waiting to get into the US
Biden campaigned on an immigration policy overhaul, with key changes that would make the US more welcoming and that he would treat migrants fairly and humanely.
Biden has begun to let in people who were in the Remain in Mexico program, known officially as the Migrant Protection Protocols. According to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 1,700 MPP-enrolled migrants have been allowed to cross into the US since February.
But this friendlier approach to immigration has resulted in an unprecedented number of people waiting to be let into the US. According to an article by NBC News, homeland security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has acknowledged that the US is on pace to encounter more people at the US-Mexico border than it has at any point in the last 20 years.
As a result, the president’s administration is now contending with what might become a humanitarian crisis, as border patrol struggles to care for families and children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador in the midst of pandemic-period controls.
The BBC earlier reported that the administration was bracing for a surge in thousands of unaccompanied migrant children crossing the border, after Biden overturned a Trump Covid-era policy of turning away teens and children.
To cope with record numbers of migrant children, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has also been mobilized for 90 days to assist in a “government-wide effort… to safely receive, shelter, and transfer unaccompanied children who make the dangerous journey to the US southwest border.”
Separately, an AP report in February said that an overflow shelter would be re-opened in Carrizo Springs, Texas, and an Axios report indicated a downtown Dallas convention center would be used to house around 3,000 migrant teens.
Source: Business Insider
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