Immigrant rights advocates met with Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla at a center for short-term migrants on Wednesday to give him a sense of what is happening on the ground at the U.S.-Mexico border.
They applaud the end of the so-called stay-in-Mexico policy, but say migrants are still at risk because they are not being processed quickly enough.
We have seen and heard of the dangers faced by asylum seekers in the encampments along the border, but Daniel Tse, a Cameroonian migrant and recent law school graduate, has lived it.
“There is so much insecurity and danger, people are losing their lives every week,” said the migrant who used his newfound security to co-found the Cameroon Advocacy Network.
U.S. Senator Alex Padilla, a Democrat from California, was front and center Wednesday afternoon for a conversation with nonprofits and immigration advocacy organizations at the Jewish Family Service at the Rapid migrant shelter. Response from San Diego, listening to understand how to better support organizations’ missions.
Some of the concerns expressed include the need for more medium- and long-term housing nationwide, as well as the residual effects of Title 42, which closed the U.S. border to asylum seekers, citing public health risks.
They also noted the need to expedite the processing of those who remain under the Migrant Protection Protocol, better known as the Mexico Stay Policy, although it ended earlier this month. .
“We want to create a pathway for people to get protection and for immigration detentions not to be mandatory for people who literally barely survived and arrived,” said Guerline Jozef, President of the Alliance of Haitian bridge.
“Seeking asylum is a right that people have, and having a viable route to the asylum system ensures that fewer people are forced into impossible decisions that could put their lives and the lives of their children at risk,” he said. explained Monika Langarica of the UCLA Center for Immigration Law and Policy. .
Although hundreds of Ukrainians a day were being processed for asylum when they began showing up at the border after fleeing their war-torn country, the Jewish Family Service says only a handful of the thousands other countries enrolled in the Remain In Mexico policy have been processed and allowed to enter the United States.
“We not only continue to pursue legislation, appropriations and budget requests through Congress, but we call on the Biden administration to do what it can through executive authorities,” said Senator Padilla. .
A stroke of the pen that immigration rights advocates, as well as Tse, who survived the camps, say could save lives.
“People are looking for security, for life,” Tse said.
The Department of Homeland Security said in an earlier statement that “individuals currently in MPP in Mexico will be deregistered upon their return for their next scheduled court date.”
NBC 7 has reached out to them after hours to see if anything is being done to expedite processing and is still awaiting a response.