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Border towns brace for migrants to enter the US under new Biden immigration policies

El Paso immigraiton border crossing
Posted at 7:00 AM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 09:05:40-05

EL PASO, Texas — Life in a border town is unique. There is always activity, and locals from one country routinely visit the other.

Norma Irene Alvarez says unless you live in a town like El Paso, you might not get it.

"I don’t know what my life would be if I wasn’t here," Alvarez said.

Alvarez was born in Mexico, crossed the border when she was five, never left El Paso and is now a DACA recipient, which gives her the ability to work and live without fear of deportation.

She says life on the other side of the wall in Juarez, Mexico, is difficult, to say the least.

"People want what you have for a reason because you are blessed. They see in this country what they don’t have back home," Alvarez said.

EL PASO ABOUT TO GET BUSIER

El Paso, as well as other border cities like Brownsville, Texas and San Isidro, California, are bracing for a steady stream of migrants in the coming weeks.

"Twenty-five people will be able to enter the United States this Friday," Linda Rivas with Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center said.

Migrants will walk across the Paso del Norte bridge from Juarez to El Paso because of a change President Joe Biden made earlier this month.

Under former President Donald Trump, asylum seekers had to wait in Mexico until their immigration hearing. Now, they can wait in the United States.

"The process is expected to be very secure, very orderly, COVID safe," Rivas said.

It is estimated that 26,000 or so migrants are now eligible to return to the United States.

In El Paso, immigration officials are capping the number at 25-30 each day. That number will increase to about 300 a day soon.

"For those who are fleeing persecution and danger they have a right under federal law to seek asylum at our border," said Dylan Corbett with the Hope Border Institute.

ANXIETY FROM SOME; IMPATIENCE BY OTHERS

The move is not sitting well with some locals.

"He’s letting all these poor people come in, there is enough people here already, poor people," Joe, an El Paso resident, said.

"If Juarez doesn’t want you there why do you think we do," Sean, an El Paso business leader and veteran said.

While it may look like Biden is making major moves on immigration, some advocates are growing impatient.

An immigration reform bill that would provide a pathway to citizenship is moving slowly in Congress, not to mention some Trump-era policies are still being used by the Biden administration.

Among those Trump-era policies still in place is Title 42, which is being used to remove newly-encountered migrants from the United States.

"I just want my green card," Alvarez said.