Socialist Worker

‘We’re not criminals,’ say protesting migrants trapped in Mexico by US

by Sophie Squire
Issue No. 2773

Joe Bidens immigration policies continue to clamp down on migrants

Joe Biden's immigration policies continue to clamp down on migrants (Pic: JCS on Flickr )


Hundreds of migrants trapped in southern Mexico protested on Wednesday against the state’s immigration rules.

The protesting migrants, who are from central and Latin America, are trying to make it to the US. Mexican authorities have forced them to stay in the city of Tapachula for months, blocking their journey towards the country’s northern border.

One migrant, Juliana, says they’re fearful of catching coronavirus in the squalid conditions. “We sleep on the street, in the rain,” she said, “We are getting sick, they want to kill us and even more so with that disease.

“We are begging to be let out of Tapachula, they are starving us.”

The protesting migrants chanted, “We are not criminals—we are international workers.”

Many of the migrants have fled poverty in Haiti. The Caribbean island has been plundered and held by more than 200 years of Western imperialism. And the US has “intervened” in Haiti four times in the last 100 years to prop up friendly dictators or overthrow left wing governments—including invasions and support for coups.

Yet the US has pressured Mexico to clamp down on migrants.

The refugee crisis isn’t just centred on Mexico’s southern border.

At a makeshift camp in the town of Reynosa, near the US, thousands of asylum seekers are left in limbo. They live in squalid conditions with little access to sanitation and drinking water.

There have already been multiple outbreaks of Covid-19 at the settlement.

Dismantle 

The Mexican authorities last month attempted to dismantle the camp partially, but migrants quickly rebuilt more structures. The camp in Reynosa replaced one just over 50 miles away in the city of Matamoros. It stood for three years, but was destroyed in March. 

Most of those who live in the Reynosa camp were deported by former US president Donald Trump.

Many were deported under an emergency public health order called Title 42, which meant asylum seekers could be robbed of their status. Some 948,000 migrants have been deported without due process, supposedly to keep Covid-19 rates under control. 

Welcome to America: our vicious border controls just got nastier
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Under Joe Biden, this act is still in place. And while Trump may have left the White House, another one of his policies is still causing misery for migrants. 

The Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) were dubbed the “return to Mexico” programme. It meant migrants had to stay in Mexico and wait to be granted asylum.

They would be deported to Mexico and given a notice to appear in immigration court. Most were unable to access a lawyer, making it impossible to be granted asylum.

Biden suspended MPP on his first day in office, but Title 42 still has a huge impact on those waiting at the US border. 

Charlene D’Cruz, the director of charity Project Corazon said, “Under Biden, people are still being returned and getting stuck. 

“The border is not really any different.”

Despite his promises, Biden has largely stood by as migrant children are separated from their parents and thousands forced to live in squalid camps. The migrants are fleeing conflict, poverty and the effects of climate change. 

Biden’s immigration policies expose that the Democrats are not a solution, but part of the problem. 


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