“I believe God heard us”: Biden’s triumph renews hope for asylum seekers

There are tens of thousands of migrants stranded on the border with Mexico hoping for the best after the defeat of Donald Trump.

TIJUANA, Mexico – For Mrs. Emma, ​​a migrant mother in Tijuana, the election of a new president in the United States is tantamount to renewing hopes of getting the asylum she came to seek a year ago.

“I believe that God listened to us, because we asked him so much as migrant families , ” he said.

Hopefully the coming government understands us a little better , that we can’t go back, and we can’t be here” on the Mexican border, explained the woman from Honduras.

The news that a candidate other than Donald Trump had won the election raised her hopes for her and her two young girls.

“I heard that the new president wants to finish the program that makes us here in Tijuana . Oh, God willing, because we have been a long time, “he spoke.

The family arrived in Tijuana a year ago. He was about to cross the border to immigration court in San Diego for a second hearing when, in March, the pandemic reached the region and the governments of the United States and Mexico suspended non-essential border crossings.

They also closed the courts in San Diego to prevent infections.

While Dona Emma has waited with her girls in Tijuana for the courts to reopen, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that asylum applications will only be resumed when the level of coronavirus infections drops to “green” on both sides of the border.

Those conditions could present themselves in late 2021, if ever. But the authorities of the Department of Homeland Security (HSD) imposed yet another measure: that asylum seekers have a period of 15 days to submit the complete evidence on which they base their asylum applications.

Both restrictions make it nearly impossible for migrants to get asylum in the United States .

” It is urgent that the United States government resume the asylum process that was in place before President Trump arrived at the White House,” José María García Lara, coordinator of the migrant shelter Juventud 2000 in Tijuana.

“Migrant families and people who arrive alone with the intention of requesting asylum, actually suffer a lot, they cannot return to their countries because of the violence but also because of the deteriorating socio-economic conditions,” said García Lara.

The situation of migrants in Tijuana is very precarious. / Manuel Ocaño

For the director of the Espacio Migrante shelter, Paulina Olvera Cáñez , the new administration enters when the Trump administration has already created a crisis at the border.

The Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols program “sent between 62,000 and 68,000 people to wait in Mexican border cities” for the results of hearings and asylum requests, Olvera said.

“But since March, when the courts closed, families were stranded at the border, and in the meantime families have continued to arrive seeking asylum,” he explained.

The program was imposed by the United States on Mexico in January 2019, “but then Mexico accepted it , but it does not help migrants; all the weight and responsibility is left to civil society organizations, ”which have to seek their own resources to help migrants, according to the coordinator.

García Lara agreed on the urgency for the incoming Biden administration to support families and migrants seeking asylum.

“Many have found work, some even rent a house on their own, but they are the least. They understand that in Mexico we also have deprivation, we have deportees and we have families like them fleeing violence and misery, ”he explained.

Mrs. Emma believed that it would be ideal if families seeking asylum were allowed to remain in the United States while their asylum petitions were resolved, no longer in Mexico.

“That is why I believe that God listened to us now that this change of president is coming, right? My girls and I could go to my brother’s house in California, the girls could even go to school; that is what we are asking the most now, that this president ( Biden ) does touch his heart, “said Mrs. Emma.

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