Migrants are released on parole in the US due to an increase in applications for entry
The US authorities have had to apply the measure in the face of the massive arrival of people in territories such as Texas.
The warehouse on a busy street of auto repair shops and stores goes almost unnoticed, while inside, hundreds of migrants eat, charge their phones, bathe and use the bathrooms in Texas, USA. Within hours, a guard will escort them to a vacant lot across the street where they will board buses that will take them from Eagle Pass to San Antonio International Airport for $40. Bipartisan Bill Restricting Access to Guns Overcomes US Obstruction The Border Patrol releases up to 1,000 migrants daily through Mission: Border Hope, a church-based nonprofit that moved into the depot in April.
The move was in response to a growing practice by the Joe Biden administration of releasing migrants on parole, especially those who are not subject to pandemic rules that prevent them from seeking asylum. The Border Patrol released on parole more than 207,000 migrants who entered illegally from Mexico between August 2021 and May 2022, including 51,132 in May, a 28 percent increase from April, according to court documents. In the previous seven months, it had released only 11 migrants. Parole prevents migrants from being deported for a period of time, but offers no other benefits. By law, the Department of Homeland Security can release migrants on parole "for humanitarian reasons" or because their release represents "a significant public benefit." Once released on parole, migrants have one year to apply for asylum.
The Border Patrol appealed to this resource because it does not have the space to house so many migrants, according to legal documents. It is a little-publicized shift from the policies pursued by Biden's predecessors, Donald Trump and Barack Obama. When migrants' appearances in court couldn't be processed quickly enough last year, thousands of them were held under a bridge in Texas' Rio Grande Valley. In 2019, the cells were so overcrowded that some migrants stood on toilets.
Foreigners released from the warehouse are told to report to immigration authorities wherever they are going within two months. They must wear a device that allows their movements to be monitored. "The deal was good," said Anthony Montilla, a 27-year-old Venezuelan. "They didn't treat us like thieves." Montilla arrived with his family after a trip that included a passage through the feared Gap of Darién, where bandits raped young girls in front of their parents and there were corpses along the way. After being released by Border Patrol, the family headed to a friend's house in Washington. José Castillo, 43, arrived from Nicaragua with his wife and a 14-year-old son after overcoming the fear of crossing the Rio Grande. They were headed to Miami, where a cousin lives. They say his opposition to the Nicaraguan government exposes them to reprisals. Castillo said the day they spent in Border Patrol custody was "easy," but he doesn't recommend anyone follow in their footsteps because of the risk of starvation or kidnapping in Mexico.
Mission: Border Hope
An initiative supported by the United Methodist Church operates in a sector that now offers itself as an illegal crossing route almost as popular as the Rio Grande Valley. Their services are modest compared to other groups along the border, which offer shelter and transportation to an airport. It began operations in 2000, serving between 25 and 50 migrants a week elsewhere, according to Valeria Wheeler, its executive director, who oversees operations with the effectiveness of a factory foreman. On busy days, volunteers are stretched thin to register migrants, buy bus tickets and attend to other logistical issues, according to Wheeler. On a typical day they serve 500 migrants, but sometimes they have reached a thousand. The warehouse has a makeshift kitchen piled high with boxes of tomato sauce, chicken soup, pork and beans. The migrants wait sitting on metal benches and plastic chairs. Instructions are given over a loudspeaker when Border Patrol is bringing people in and when buses to the airport arrive. Migrants are asked to leave quickly to allow others to arrive. One in ten, however, end up sleeping on the concrete floor because they have nowhere to go. "We're not set up to be a shelter," says Wheeler, a former paralegal, as she tours the windowless building. She is often interrupted by migrants asking her questions.
Migrants are granted parole without reviewing their asylum claims or asking them why they came to the United States. They are given a small package sealed with a blue stamp that says when their parole expires. This treatment contrasts with that of many other migrants who are expelled from the country without being given the opportunity to request asylum under Title 42, a rule used by the Trump administration to prevent asylum claims for public health reasons. , to prevent the spread of covid-19. A federal judge recently ruled that the rule would remain in effect despite government objections. Title 42 is unevenly applied, especially to migrants from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, because Mexico agreed to receive them back.
Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris Magnus said parole is granted to migrants with no criminal record, who generally arrive with their families and have people to meet them in the United States. "We try to manage ourselves in an intelligent way, recognizing that there are people who have been carefully studied, who represent a much lower risk and who may be treated differently than others," Magnus said in an interview. Some say that this encourages more migrants to come and that the government does not comply with the requirement that it be analyzed "case by case". But Magnus said it's "much more efficient" and just as effective as releasing them with citations to appear in immigration court. That process, which takes time, is now in the hands of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement service, which will intervene in the final destination of the migrants.
The Border Patrol continues to process some 25,000 migrants a month by sending them to immigration courts, a procedure that agents say takes more than an hour. Freedom under words, on the other hand, takes minutes. Recently, a Honduran woman in her eighth month of pregnancy was released with an order to appear before an immigration judge in Cleveland, where her uncle was waiting for her. Wheeler says he doesn't know why some migrants are paroled while others are sent to immigration court, and he doesn't ask why that is. "Our goal is to provide security," she said.