CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico Dec 28 (Reuters) – Hundreds of migrants in northern Mexico were taking matters into their own hands to slip into the United States, even before the U.S. Supreme Court chose on Tuesday to keep a measure to curb illegal border crossings in place. States.
The controversial pandemic-era measure known as Title 42 was supposed to expire on Dec. 21, but a last-minute legal stay has left border policy in limbo and a growing number of migrants decided they had little to lose by crossing anyway.
After spending days in cold border cities, groups of migrants targeted by Title 42 from Venezuela and other countries chose to make a run for it rather than sit out the uncertainty of the ongoing legal tug-of-war in US courts.
“We ran, and we hid until we made it,” said Jonathan, a Venezuelan migrant who crossed the border from the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez to El Paso, Texas, with his wife and five children, ages 3 to 16. . , Monday night.
Giving only his first name and speaking by phone, Jonathan said he had spent several months in Mexico and did not want to enter the United States illegally.
But the thought of failure after a journey that took his family through the dangerous jungles of Darien in Panama, Central America and Mexico was more than he could bear.
“Getting here will be the last straw, and then they will send us back to Venezuela,” he told Reuters.
On Tuesday, the US Supreme Court granted a request by a group of Republican state attorneys general to stay a judge’s decision invalidating Title 42. They argued that removing it would increase border crossings.
The court said it will hear arguments on whether states can intervene to defend Title 42 during its February session. A verdict is expected by the end of June.
Reuters images showed migrants racing along a busy highway along the border last week, carrying a barefoot man and a small child — the kind of dangerous crossing that has alarmed migrant advocates.
“We are talking about people who come to request asylum … and they are still crossing the border in a very dangerous way,” said Fernando García, director of the Border Network for Human Rights.
John Martin, deputy director of El Paso’s Opportunity Center for the Homeless, said an increasing number of migrants at his shelter are people who have crossed illegally, including many Venezuelans.
“At one time, the majority was documented; now I see it reversed,” he said.
On Tuesday, before the Supreme Court’s ruling, a Venezuelan migrant in Ciudad Juarez who gave his name as Antonio said he was waiting to see if he would leave US border surveillance in hopes of earning money to send home to the United States.
“If they don’t end Title 42,” he said, “we’re going to continue to enter illegally.”
Elsewhere along the border, other migrants said they felt they had run out of options.
“We don’t have a future in Mexico,” said Cesar, a Venezuelan migrant in Tijuana who did not give his last name, explaining why he tried to cross the border fence into the United States once, and plans to try again. .
Reporting by Diana Beth Solomon in Mexico City and Jose Luis Gonzalez in Ciudad Juarez; Additional reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Dave Graham and Gary Doyle
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