Slipping over Mexico border, migrants get the jump on U.S. court ruling

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico, Dec 28 (Reuters) – Even before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday to uphold a measure aimed at discouraging illegal border crossings, hundreds of migrants in northern Mexico were taking matters into their own hands to enter the United States. countries.

The controversial pandemic-era measure, known as Section 42, was set to expire on December 21, but the last-minute legal stay has clouded border policy and led more migrants to decide they have little to lose by crossing.

After days spent in chilly border towns, groups of migrants from Venezuela and other Title 42 countries chose to push for it rather than sit in the limbo of a legal tug-of-war in US courts.

“We ran and 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. , on Monday evening.

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Giving only his first name and speaking by phone, Jonathan said he had been in Mexico for several months and had no intention of entering the United States illegally.

But the thought of failure after a journey that took his family through the dangerous Darien Jungle in Panama, to Central America and into Mexico was more than he could bear.

“This would be the last straw to get here 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 delay a judge’s decision to invalidate Section 42. They argued that repealing it would increase border crossings.

The court said it would hear arguments in its February session on whether states could intervene to defend Section 42. The verdict is expected at the end of June.

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Reuters footage showed migrants running along a busy highway along the border last week, one man barefoot and carrying a small child, a risky crossing that worries migrant advocates.

“We’re talking about people who come to seek asylum … and they’re still crossing the border in very dangerous ways,” said Fernando Garcia, director of the Human Rights Network’s Border Network.

John Martin, deputy director of El Paso’s Homeless Empowerment Center, said the number of migrants admitted to his shelter is increasingly made up of people who have crossed illegally, including many Venezuelans.

“At one point, most were documented; now I see it the other way around,” he said.

On Tuesday, before the Supreme Court’s ruling, a Venezuelan migrant in Ciudad Juarez, who gave his first name as Antonio, said he was waiting to see if U.S. border surveillance would end, hoping to earn money in the U.S. to send home.

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“If they don’t end Section 42,” he said, “we’re going to keep coming in illegally.”

Elsewhere on the border, other migrants said they felt they had run out of options.

“We have no future in Mexico,” said Cesar, a Venezuelan migrant in Tijuana who did not give his last name, explaining why he has tried to sneak past the U.S. border once and plans to try again. .

Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon in Mexico City and Jose Luis Gonzalez in Ciudad Juarez; Additional reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Dave Graham and Jerry Doyle

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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