by Jennie Taer
The Biden administration’s program to admit migrants using an exception to a major expulsion order if they crossed illegally is leading to family separations, according to multiple reports.
The program allows individual migrants to make appointments through a phone application, known as CBP One, to apply for an appointment to get an exception to Title 42, the Trump-era expulsion order used to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Parents are being forced to weigh a difficult decision of sending their children to cross the border when they can’t get appointments with the family for the admissions process, an immigration lawyer and advocates told Border Report.
“You two can enter, but not your children,” a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer told migrants, who spoke with the Los Angeles Times.
CBP has recorded a surge in illegal migration at the southern border. The agency recorded more than 2.3 million migrant encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border in fiscal year 2022 alone.
“Family separation has never stopped,” Felicia Rangel-Samponaro, director of the Sidewalk School, a nonprofit organization that provides schooling, medical care and other aid to migrants in northern Mexico, told the LA Times.
The children are crossing alone into McAllen and Brownsville, Texas as their parents get appointments through the app, according to Border Report.
“Last Monday, they started coming to the bridge, expecting, as usual, to be let in. They were not and there in the moment, families were forced to decide,” Priscilla Orta, a supervising attorney with Lawyers for Good Government, told Border Report.
“Some people are having the kids cross before or after them as unaccompanied minors, and some folks are leaving them behind with aunts or uncles mistakenly believing that aunts or uncles could cross the children,” Orta told Border Report. “Unfortunately, that will not happen. The children will then be considered unaccompanied minors when they arrive with the aunt or uncle. But the family members do not understand the intricacies of U.S. immigration law. They haven’t even been able to access an attorney yet. They’re simply asking to be let in so they can begin that process. And so there’s a lot of confusion and a lot of difficult decisions being made.”
Mark Redwine, pastor of Church of the Nazarene in Brownsville, visited a migrant encampment along the U.S. border in Matamoros, Mexico, where he found the issue to be all too real, he told Border Report.
“Walking around the camp today was heartbreaking,” Redwine said. “Everybody was talking to us about it.”
“A lot of people have appointments to cross but they don’t have appointments for their kids and instead of not letting the kid cross, they’re not going to the appointment and trying again,” Redwine added.
Neither DHS nor the White House responded to requests for comment.
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