Migrants from some countries are lucky: they can bypass new restrictions at the border due to the high cost of deportations - ForumDaily
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Migrants from some countries are lucky: they can bypass new border restrictions due to the high cost of deportations

Border Patrol arrested Colombian Gerardo Henao 14 hours after President Joe Biden suspended the asylum process at the US southern border. But instead of immediate deportation, he was dropped off the next day in San Diego (California), where he, along with other migrants, took a train to the airport, and then flew to Newark (New Jersey), he writes. Associated Press.

airplane flying over the national flags

Photo: iStock.com/honglouwawa

Henao abandoned his jewelry business in Medellin, Colombia, due to local criminal groups constantly extorting money from him.

The Colombian was lucky. The new tough migrant policy, which came into force on June 5, allows for exceptions in cases where the government "does not have the capacity" to deport everyone it needs to. We are talking about migrants from South America, Asia, Africa and Europe who have recently begun to accumulate at the Mexican border. It's all about the lack of necessary resources, diplomatic restrictions and logistical obstacles that make immediate deportation to these regions difficult.

Two senior Department of Homeland Security officials told reporters on June 7, speaking on condition of anonymity, that thousands of migrants have been deported since the ban began. There were 17 deportation flights, including one to Uzbekistan (the furthest of all). Those deported included migrants from Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru and Mexico.

On the subject: Asylum at US Southern Border: Biden's New Shutdown Order Explained

Under the new rules, asylum is suspended if arrests for illegal border crossings reach 2500 per day. The ban is lifted when the average number of arrests during the week is less than 1500.

Colombian Genaro Henao, 59, said a Border Patrol agent told him about the new rules after he was detained Wednesday, June 12, on a rural road in the Rocky Mountains east of San Diego. The agent issued paperwork requiring him to appear in immigration court on Oct. 23 in New Jersey and did not ask any further questions about Henao's reasons for leaving Colombia.

On June 6, the Border Patrol dropped off four busloads of migrants, one of which included Genaro Henao. Many of those released that day came from China, India, Colombia and Ecuador. One of the groups included people from Mauritania, Sudan and Ethiopia.

“Hello, you have been released from immigration detention and can go to the airport,” said a volunteer with a megaphone as he directed migrants to a nearby train platform. “You can ride for free if you don’t have money for a taxi or Uber.”

Border officials have been ordered to detain migrants who can be easily deported first, followed by “difficult to deport” migrants who require at least five days to issue documents. And last but not least, those “very difficult to deport,” whose governments do not accept flights from the United States, are ordered to be detained.

The instructions are outlined in a memo to agents reported by the New York Post. The Associated Press, citing an anonymous conversation with an official, confirmed the contents of the document. The text of the memorandum was not published in open sources.

Department of Homeland Security Senior Advisor Teresa Cardinal Brown made it clear that there are some obstacles to implementing the new rules.

“The resources available to the government to detain and deport people are limited. Especially in countries where it is difficult to deport people because the governments of those countries do not cooperate with the United States,” Brown said.

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New Y

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) made 679 deportation flights from January to May. Almost 60% of them are to Guatemala and Honduras, according to Witness at the Border, a group that analyzes flight data. There were 46 flights to Colombia, 42 to Ecuador and 12 to Peru. This is relatively little considering that tens of thousands of people from these countries cross the border illegally every month.

During this period, there were only 10 deportation flights to Africa, which has become a major source of migration to the United States. There was only one flight to China, despite the arrest of almost 13 Chinese migrants.

Mexico is the most accessible country for deportation, as it is easy to bring migrants to the nearest border crossing. But Mexicans made up less than 3 in 10 people arrested at the border last fiscal year, down from 9 in 10 in 2010. Mexico, among others, hosts up to 30 people a month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela, countries that have limited ability or willingness to take back their citizens. According to former ICE Director of Enforcement and Deportation Corey Price, there's nothing that can be done about it.

“We don’t make unilateral deportation decisions like, ‘OK, we’re sending your citizen back to you.’ No, the country from which the person migrated must agree to take him back,” he explained.

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