Biden is in favor of maintaining the regulations that allow migrants to be deported in hot

The president of the United States, Joe Biden, has indicated this Thursday morning that his Government will abide by the judicial decision that plans to keep the so-called Title 42 in force, a regulation that allows the rapid deportation of immigrants on the border with Mexico under health pretexts. The Democratic Administration inherited this measure from the times of Donald Trump and planned to withdraw it at the end of May. His disappearance, however, has become a thorny internal issue in an election year in which Republicans threaten to seize control of Congress. The management of the more than 3,000 kilometers of common border will be an inevitable issue in the meeting that Biden has scheduled this Friday with his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

The meeting, a virtual communication, was announced and requested by the White House on Tuesday to try to establish a common position with a view to the Summit of the Americas to be held in June in Los Angeles. The central issues on the table, according to a statement, are precisely the policies on migration, security and the situation in Central America, which the Mexican president will visit next week. The trip is key because everything that happens on the southern border ends up having repercussions on the northern border. And Washington has always needed the neighboring country to apply its decisions. López Obrador already had to bow to the designs of Trump, who even threatened him with a tariff war. Now with Biden, they are trying to address the phenomenon through negotiation.

“What the court says is what we will do. If they say we can’t do it, that’s what we’ll do,” Biden told the press this morning about Title 42, which was justified at the time by the spread of the pandemic. The journalists wanted to know his response to the decision of a federal court in Louisiana. This Wednesday, a judge appointed by the former Republican president issued a restraining order that stops Washington’s attempt to dismantle the regulations for two weeks. The Government had set the date for May 23 to lift the measure that accumulates 1.8 million expulsions of immigrants since March 2020 (this number may include the return of the same person several times). A new hearing will be held on May 13, which will also mark the Summit of the Americas, where migration issues will be one of the central issues.

“It is absurd to maintain Title 42, a sanitary measure, as a mechanism to stop migration on the one hand and, on the other, claim victory over the pandemic. It is an unsustainable contradiction,” considers Tony Payán, director of the Center for the United States and Mexico at Rice University in Texas. “The president already has Title 8 [el código de la ley estadounidense relativo al ingreso de inmigrantes indocumentados]which is sufficient and is assigning more resources, but it is the least important thing in an election year”, he adds.

The rejection of the end of the sanitary measure was clearly felt in the Republican states. Twenty-two territories, including Louisiana, Arizona and Texas, went to court to try to stop the plans of Biden, who promised during the first year of his term to reform the asylum system and return humanity to an immigration model devastated by Trump. So far, very little of that has been seen. “The border debate favors the Republicans,” says Payán.

That became clear at Easter, when one of the governors closest to Trump’s worldview, Texan Greg Abbott, decided to apply additional controls at the border, precisely pushing the interpretation of Title 42 to the limit. The strict inspections of trucks and buses They were, above all, a message to the Democratic government, as Abbott himself acknowledged, but also to Mexico. The operations unleashed chaos at four international bridges. There were protests by carriers and in the midst of the lack of control, the sit-ins were infiltrated by organized crime. Several trailers burned in the city of Reynosa and the situation became unsustainable. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs protested and so did the Mexican Congress, dominated by the ruling Morena party. Under pressure, the Republican politician, who is running for re-election in November, met with the governors of Nuevo León, Chihuahua, Coahuila and Tamaulipas and backed down. But he had already shown that he has the upper hand.

The issue, however, has also mobilized Democrats. A group of high-profile senators, including the leader of the faction, Chuck Schumer, had expressed in March their “disappointment” that the Administration would continue with the rule. The change has been drastic in recent weeks, with militants from Biden’s party asking to rectify the decision. Among these is Beto O’Rourke, the member of the progressive wing of the party who is seeking to become governor of Texas in November.

The year 2021 broke records for illegal crossings into the United States in decades. The electoral campaign has further increased the temperature of the border. Maggie Hassan, a senator from New Hampshire, traveled more than 2,000 miles from her home state to visit towns along the line in early April to deliver a message that immigration policy needed to be toughened. Her voice joins that of the most centrist Democrat on Capitol Hill, the controversial Joe Manchin of West Virginia. “We need an immigration policy and Title 42 shouldn’t go away until we have one or until the CDC says we don’t have a health crisis. As long as that happens, we cannot risk receiving undocumented immigrants without being checked,” the legislator recently said. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s top medical adviser, assured on Wednesday that the United States has already left behind the most explosive phase of the pandemic.

To outline this new migratory framework, Biden must have the support, or at least the consent, of López Obrador. The relationship between the two, according to diplomatic sources from both countries, is more than fluid, as well as the dialogue between Ambassador Ken Salazar and Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard or Senator Ricardo Monreal, a veteran leader of Morena and a candidate for succession. However, it is not that simple. In recent months, frictions and even sources of tension have multiplied, such as the electrical reform promoted by the Mexican Executive or the dismantling of an elite group that worked for more than 25 years with the DEA, the United States anti-drug agency. In other words, one thing is diplomatic courtesy and another is the routine of politics. “Neither of the two governments is in a comfortable position nor do they have the creativity or the imagination to give the relationship a change of direction”, continues Tony Payán.

Added to this is a chronic lack of agreement on essentials regarding migration. That is, financial resources. The Mexican president and his team call on the United States to increase direct investment in the countries of origin to alleviate migratory flows, but the White House custom is to make the sending of aid subject to the performance of the recipients and the effectiveness of the proyects. There are already joint programs, such as the so-called Sembrando Oportunidades launched last December, which seeks to train young people in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. To those countries, in addition to Belize and a final detour to Cuba, López Obrador will travel from May 5 to 9. The northern triangle of Central America is so decisive that the president, who has only left the country three times since he took office in 2018, chose to go personally instead of delegating to the chancellor.

Despite this, the Mexican president has not lavished explanations for the moment on this Friday’s meeting with Biden. He has limited himself to saying that it is “important that this communication be given.” “Listen to President Biden, who has treated us with respect, as President Trump also treated us with respect and as we respect them, and we have to seek a good relationship,” he added, indicating that the United States, which requested the conversation, he has not yet officially informed them of the content of the meeting. “I think it’s a call to share points of view and I think this helps a lot. It may be on immigration issues; it may be what is happening in Russia with Ukraine; it could be the Summit of the Americas. There are several issues that we are dealing with together or in which everyone has his opinion, but we listen to each other and respect each other, ”he reiterated.

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