End of ‘Remain In Mexico' Policy Renews Hope Among Migrants

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The end of the Trump Administration's Remain in Mexico policy has brought a renewed sense of hope to migrants seeking entry into the United States, even though its cancelation will only allow a small number of asylum-seeking migrants to enter.

“I’m in line just in case they start accepting new people, Diana Abundio, a migrant from Michoacan, said in Spanish.

Abundio hasn't formally applied for asylum yet, but she says she's waiting in line in hopes of getting the chance to plead her case.

“I haven’t had a chance to talk to anyone,” Ana Mancillas, a migrant from Honduras, said in Spanish.

Mancillas arrived four days ago. Like Abundio and Mancillas, there are dozens more sleeping on cold floors bearing the elements in hopes of a chance at making it across the border. 

Most of those waiting at the El Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana, Mexico, will likely not get a chance to plead their case anytime soon. The Biden administration said only asylum seekers who already have active immigration cases and were sent to Mexico under Trump's Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), or the Remain in Mexico" program, will be allowed in -- and only after applying through a government website.

Only about 25 people a day who meet the criteria will be allowed to enter the United States per day. Migrants who apply should only show up at the staging area in Tijuana once their application is approved.

But many, led my misinformation that the United States border is now "open," are gathering at El Chaparral anyway.

“What we’re seeing now is not only the formation of new migrant caravans but also for a lot of people the word throughout Mexico is that the U.S./Mexico border is now open,” said Esther Valdes, an immigration attorney. “More people are trying to open to seemingly open gates of the asylum program.”

Valdes says that in the last few days she's received numerous calls from migrants asking for help in starting a new asylum case.

She says most don't qualify, and the unfortunate part is that many still risk their lives for a chance.

Valdes encourages anyone seeking asylum to seek professional help first.

“Prepare the case, get documentary evidence, medical evidence, get testimonial evidence to be able to show that you have been persecuted or will likely be persecuted in your country of origin,” said Valdes.

She adds only about 30 percent of asylum cases are successful in the U.S. 

Yet, thousands of families risk their lives every day for a chance to present their cases before a U.S. immigration judge. 

On Monday, asylum seekers waiting in Brownsville, Texas are also expected to be let into the country, and people in El Paso will follow on Friday.

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