Mexico–United States border crisis

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The US-Mexico border crisis refers to the policies that have led to Central American migrants seeking asylum in the United States at the Mexico-United States border.


The agents of the U.S. Border Patrol, a federal law enforcement agency, are tasked with deterring, detecting, and apprehending any person crossing into the United States illegally at any point not designated as a port of entry by the Attorney General of the United States. Additionally, agents interdict and seize contraband smuggled into the United States through non ports of entry. Border Patrol agents are both immigration and customs officials.[1]

Obama administration[edit]

In 2014 the United States declared the crisis at the border showing the influx of unaccompanied minors and women making their way through checkpoints as well as making their way through the border. The U.S. Southern border has been a long time struggle with creating policies that allow for their to not be so many tragedies in these routes to the United States. Although the unlawful immigration of Mexicans has dropped significantly, the influx of struggle can now be seen through the Northern Triangle of Central America, being Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. These are all locations that in the 1980s the United States had involvement with the brutal regimes in these areas that have ultimately left countries ignited in violence and poverty to this day.[31]

In several places dangers including kidnapping, murder and sexual assault threaten thousands of Central American migrants who have been clustered in Mexican border cities like Matamoros for months, blocked from asking asylum in the United States because of new restriction policies. The American government and United Nations provided free transportation to return refugees to their homes in Central America, but many others who are stuck in Matamoros said that desperation had led them to consider treacherous and potentially life-threatening border crossings — by charging across the river, climbing into hot and airless tractor-trailers driven by human smugglers, or both. In 2019 as the Border Patrol reported, the number of migrants caught hiding in tractor-trailers along the border has gone up by 40 percent this year, according to the Border Patrol.[2]

Trump administration[edit]

President Donald Trump examines border wall prototypes in Otay Mesa, California

In September 2019, the US Supreme Court allowed a new ruling to take effect that could curtail most asylum applications at the border. The ruling would demand that most asylum seekers who pass through another country first will be ineligible for asylum at the U.S.'s southern border. Mark A. Morgan, acting commissioner of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, stated the ruling was set to take effect on the week of October 8, 2019.[3] In an interview with Time, Donald Trump criticized the Obama administration for the separations immigration policy. He stated that Mexican immigrants bring crime and drugs to the United States. Trump has frequently clashed with so-called "sanctuary cities," where migrants are shielded from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement by local authorities, and has tried to deny federal funding to those cities.[4] As the Trump administration stated, the policy is necessary to decrease the "fraudulent" asylum claims among the entrance of Central American families coming to the border.[5]

The Trump administration tried to stop migrants from getting into the United States at all, asking them to take a number at the border and to wait until they are called for a chance to have their asylum cases heard. As a result, in September 2019, the US immigration court faced over 1 million waiting for their cases to be heard, matching the highest backlog seen in the US.[6]

Biden administration[edit]

On January 13, just one week prior to Biden's inauguration, more than 3000 people departed Honduras and El Salvador for the United States. That number grew to approximately 7000-8000 one week later.[7]

On January 16, Guatemala and Mexico deployed the military to their borders, in an attempt to stop the migrant caravan from transiting through their countries on the way to the United States to no avail.[8][9]

On January 20, 2021, soon after his inauguration, President Biden halted the construction of Trump's Mexican border wall,[10] ending the national emergency declared by the Trump administration in February 2019.[11] Early during President Joe Biden's tenure, a surge in migrants at the U.S. border stirred controversy. According to a 2021 Politico report, Republicans expected prior to Joe Biden taking office that there would be a border surge at the start of 2021 (due to seasonal patterns and regional crises and the coment Biden made stating that he would grant asylum to any illegal migrants who entered the country within his first 100 days in office if elected) and coordinated to make it a central issue in the lead-up to the 2022 mid-term elections.[12] The number of migrants arriving in the United States from Central America had been rising since February 2021.[13] The United States Border Patrol reported an increase in encounters with unaccompanied children from the month before. The reported 5,858 encounters in January to 9,457 in February constituted the largest one-month percentage increase in encounters with unaccompanied children since U.S. Customs and Border Protection began recording data in 2010.[14][15][16]

In February 2021, a group of migrants was found massacred in northern Mexico. A few months later, the US Customs and Border Patrol reported that various colored bracelets with writing on them being used as a method to track a migrant's payment status to their coyote (smuggler) and drug cartels that control various parts of Mexico. The bracelets reportedly are used for tracking status of protection from cartel actions such as death, kidnapping, and the right to be in cartel controlled territory or to cross the border into the US.[17][18]

In March 2021, amid a rise in migrants entering the U.S. from Mexico, Biden told migrants: "Don't come over." He said that the U.S. was arranging a plan for migrants to "apply for asylum in place", without leaving their original locations. In the meantime, migrant adults "are being sent back", Biden said, in reference to the continuation of the Trump administration's Title 42 policy for quick deportations but made no efforts to follow through and migrants continued to cross into the U.S.[19] Biden earlier announced that his administration would not deport unaccompanied migrant children; the rise in arrivals of such children exceeded the capacity of facilities meant to shelter them (before they were sent to sponsors), leading the Biden administration in March to direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help manage these children but facilities are being overwhelmed because of the numbers of adults and children coming into the country.[20]

On March 24, 2021, Biden tasked Vice President Kamala Harris to reduce the number of unaccompanied minors and adult asylum seekers. She is also tasked with leading the negotiations with Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.[21] In June 2021, Vice President Harris visited Guatemala and Mexico in an attempt to address the root causes of migration from Central America to the United States.[22] During her visit, in a joint press conference with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, Harris issued an appeal to potential migrants, stating "I want to be clear to folks in the region who are thinking about making that dangerous trek to the United States-Mexico border: Do not come. Do not come."[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fernandez, Manny; Jordan, Miriam; Kanno-Youngs, Zolan; Dickerson, Caitlin; Brinson, Kendrick (15 September 2019). "People Actively Hate Us': Inside the Border Patrol's Morale Crisis". New York Times. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  2. ^ Dickerson, Caitlin. "Desperate Migrants on the Border: 'I Should Just Swim Across'". New York Times. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  3. ^ "US-Mexico border apprehensions fall in September but remain high". aljazeera. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  4. ^ Dockery, Wesley (22 June 2019). "US-Mexico Border Crisis: Young Migrants Living In Squalor, Attorneys Say". ibtimes. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  5. ^ Silva, Daniella. "ACLU files complaint against government returning pregnant asylum-seekers to Mexico". nbcnews. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  6. ^ Mindock, Clark (18 September 2019). "Trump visits US-Mexico border wall amid protests". independent. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Migrant caravan departs for U.S., clash with Central American forces". KGTV. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Guatemalan troops forcibly clear migrant caravan from highway". The Guardian. January 26, 2021. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  9. ^ "The caravan hoped for change. But it's not all up to Biden". Sandra Cuffe and Whitney Eulich. January 18, 2021. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  10. ^ Bradner, Eric; Klein, Betsy (January 20, 2021). "Biden targets Trump's legacy with first-day executive actions". CNN. Retrieved January 20, 2021.
  11. ^ Maxouris, Christina; Almasy, Steve; Gallón, Natalie (June 26, 2019). "A woman watched her husband and daughter drown at the Mexican border, report says - CNN Politics". CNN.
  12. ^ "The border turned out to be a better attack on Biden than even Republicans thought". POLITICO. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  13. ^ Romo, Vanessa (March 11, 2021). "Number Of Unaccompanied Minors Entering U.S. Soared In February".
  14. ^ SPAGAT, ELLIOT (March 17, 2021). "EXPLAINER: Is the US border with Mexico in crisis?". AP NEWS.
  15. ^ Mulder, Brandon. "Fact-check: Is the surge of migrant children arriving at border a result of Biden policies?". Austin American-Statesman (March 29, 2021).
  16. ^ Morin, Rebecca (March 15, 2021). "As Biden faces ongoing surge of migrant children, Republicans criticize White House for border crisis". USA TODAY.
  17. ^ Reuters (March 13, 2021). "Mexico: smugglers use bracelets to track migrants as they cross US border". the Guardian. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  18. ^ Arroyo, Lorena; Ferri, Pablo; Guerrero, Hector; González, Monica (February 22, 2021). "The Tamaulipas massacre: how the American Dream dies in Mexico". EL PAÍS. Retrieved March 13, 2021.
  19. ^ "Biden administration faces pressure on immigration amid influx". Al Jazeera. March 17, 2021. Retrieved March 20, 2021.
  20. ^ Miroff, Nick (March 14, 2021). "Biden will deploy FEMA to care for teenagers and children crossing border in record numbers". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
  21. ^ "Biden is giving Kamala Harris the thorniest issue to oversee as VP: immigration". Business Insider. Retrieved March 27, 2021.
  22. ^ Egan, Lauren (7 June 2021). "Harris takes first steps onto world stage, into migration spotlight". NBC News.
  23. ^ Rodriguez, Sabrina (7 June 2021). "Harris' blunt message in Guatemala: 'Do not come' to U.S." POLITICO.