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The Invisible Border Wall

President Biden promised change at the southern border. But by continuing a Trump-era policy, known as Title 42, his administration is creating an invisible wall for thousands of asylum seekers who now find themselves in an indefinite limbo throughout border cities.
3 Jun 2021 – 06:38 PM EDT
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[indistinct conversations][all speaking in spanish][chanting and speaking in spanish][chanting and speaking in spanish]- [speaking in spanish][esmeralda speaking in spanish]♪ ♪- president biden promised change at the u.s. southernborder, including addressing what he called"the trump-created humanitarian crisis" there.but the biden administration has chosen to keep one policyin place that is creating an invisible wallfor asylum seekers with no end in sight.for asylum seekers in nogales, mexico,this is their lifeline.[horan] people who are arriving for the first time,they come into our center, where we give thema hot meal, they can take a shower,get a change of clothes, and then we providemedical services or help them connectto other services they might need.[ramos] every day, up to 150 migrantsdepend on this center.- so we know families living here in nogaleswho have been here a year, two years,waiting for their chance to have a credible fear interviewand to seek their right to asylum.[speaking in spanish]now, with title 42, there is no end on the horizon.[ramos] title 42 is an obscure health lawthat gives the u.s. government unique powersduring a public crisis.former president trump first enacted it back in march, 2020,as the pandemic shut down large parts of the country.- then we've had this problem for decades. for decades.you know the story. but now it's...with the national emergencies and all of the other thingsthat we've declared, we can actually do something about it.[ramos] under the order, u.s. immigration officialscan quickly expel migrants seeking asylumas soon as they cross the border.the reasoning: to stop the spread of the coronavirus.- they've threatened to create a perfect stormthat would spread the infection to our border agents, migrants,and to the public at large. we're not gonna let that happen.[ramos] what was once a trump-era policyhas now become president biden's.- if you take a look at the number of peoplethat are coming, the vast majority,the overwhelming majority of people who are comingto the border, crossing, are being sent back.- i do.our exercise of title 42 is the exerciseof a public health authority to protect the american publicwith respect to covid-19 as well as the migrants themselves.- do you anticipate, with the vaccines becomingmore available, that title 42 might be rescinded soon?- senator, i don't have a timetable.[ramos] but many leading health expertsand organizations outside of the cdcoppose title 42, citing a lack of scientific evidenceto support it.♪ ♪the united nations is among those publicly callingfor the u.s. government to repeal the order.- we believe that there is... it is possible to both protectpublic health as well as protect that abilityto seek asylum.and so we believe that it is time to end title 42.[horan] the reality is, asking people not to comeignores the fact that people have a right to asylum.what title 42 has done, and what we've seen,is created a lot of chaos and uncertainty,and an incorrect or false narrativearound the reality of this moment.and so many people, if they hear that migrantsaren't being processed because of the pandemic, they think,well, there's all these migrants who have covid-19,when the reality is that this has been used as a pretextand an excuse not to process migrants.so it's really a symptom of a broader issue.for years, we've seen these tacticsof prevention through deterrence.[ramos] as of april, more than 700,000 migrantshave been expelled under title 42.over the past year, less than 1% of themwere allowed to apply for asylum.there are a few exceptions.unaccompanied children and some families with kidsare being allowed into the country.the biden administration has also recently agreedto admit up to 250 asylum seekers every daywho advocates consider vulnerable.but migrants who cannot enter are either returnedto their home countries or sent back to mexico.many of them are now essentially stranded there,facing dangerous and unsanitary conditionsacross the border cities.[woman speaking in spanish]♪ ♪- [speaking in spanish][speaking in spanish][man speaking in spanish][woman praying in spanish][speaking in spanish][ramos] esmeralda and her family fled to nogalesin november 2019 to escape persecution.like thousands of others during that time,she was forced to put their names on a metering listto make an asylum claim.before their number could be called,title 42 shut them out.- [speaking in spanish][speaking in spanish][speaking in spanish]♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪

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