The United States will send 1,500 additional troops to its border with Mexico, the Pentagon spokesman announced on Tuesday, before the expiration next week of an anti-Covid measure allowing the immediate deportation of migrants crossing the border. land borders of the United States.
Authorities fear a spike in arrivals at their border with the lifting of this measure, known as "Title 42".
"At the request of the Department of Homeland Security," the U.S. Secretary of Defense "approved a temporary increase of 1,500 additional military personnel to supplement Border Patrol efforts on the Southwest border," the US Department of Defense said. Pat Ryder.
For 90 days, they will support the police, particularly in terms of surveillance. "Military personnel will not participate directly in law enforcement activities," the spokesman insisted.
They will add to the 2,500 troops already assisting border police and other agencies who are preparing for a surge in arrivals.
The Department of Homeland Security said that "their support (will) enable law enforcement personnel to carry out their crucial work".
The Mexican government said on Tuesday it would "continue to accept the return of migrants on a humanitarian basis", in a statement released after a meeting with Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, US President Joe Biden's deputy security adviser.
"Title 42" is a measure related to the Covid-19 pandemic, put in place in 2020 under the administration of former President Donald Trump, allowing the immediate return of migrants without visas, even applicants for potential asylum. It expires on May 11.
Faced with the influx of illegal immigrants, mainly from Central and South America, the United States announced a series of measures last week.
Migrants will now have to register for an interview with the immigration authorities of their country or the countries crossed. A new telephone application, CBP One, is offered to them for this purpose.
The management of asylum seekers or refugees has been outsourced to centers in Colombia and Guatemala. Canada and Spain have agreed to accommodate some of those given the go-ahead at these centers, according to US officials.
The new military deployment was criticized by Jonathan Blazer of the powerful American civil rights association ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union).
"People forced to flee their homes and embark on difficult, dangerous journeys for the chance to seek legal protection in the United States should be met with compassion ---not with soldiers," he said. said, accusing Mr. Biden of thus imposing what amounts to a ban on the right of asylum.
Mr. Biden "should instead be dedicated to creating a strong, effective and humane system to vet and accommodate people seeking safety," he added.
Immigration is a politically explosive topic in the United States.
The Republican opposition relentlessly attacks Joe Biden, whom it accuses of having turned the Mexican border into a sieve.
Republican lawmakers have scheduled a press conference Wednesday to call on the Democrat to "keep Title 42 in place," saying lifting it would "exacerbate what is already a humanitarian and national security catastrophe on our southern border."
As soon as he took office, Mr. Biden put an end to the construction of the wall that Donald Trump wanted on the border with Mexico.
But the arrivals of migrants continue without him having been able to reform the immigration system, the Republicans being the majority in the House.
From May 11, another article, "Title 8", will be applied, recently said the Minister of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. This article provides for accelerated deportations, accompanied by a ban on new entry into the territory for five years and possible criminal prosecution.
"To be clear, the border is not open and will not open after May 11", according to Mr. Mayorkas, who nevertheless said he expected "an upsurge" in Mexican border crossings as of May 11. lifting of this measure.
In the fiscal year ending September 30, 2022, some 2.4 million people were stopped at the border and most were turned back.
In March, 191,899 people without immigration documents were intercepted.
Migrants, anxious to escape poverty or violence in their countries of origin, often take enormous risks to enter American soil.
03/05/2023 17:31:53 - Washington (AFP) - © 2023 AFP