There are two women seated on a bench, wrapped in blankets and staring at their feet where there are a few bottles of water. Are these women border crossers, fleeing violence in their own country? Are they waiting to ask for asylum at a US Port of Entry? Are they planning to make an unauthorized entry into the US to request asylum after they are apprehended? Or have these women been returned to Mexico from the US, under Title 42 of the health code? Whatever these women’s circumstances may be, the reality of migration along the US/Mexico border will soon change again.
In May, Covid-19 emergency protocol will end and Title 42—a draconian policy that forcefully removed migrants from the US under the auspice of health and safety concerns—will no longer apply. As a result, the Biden administration has enacted several new measures to discourage migrants from attempting to enter the US—especially to seek asylum. Specifically, in January of this year, the US began sending more Venezuelans, Nicaraguans, Cubans, and Haitians back into Mexico rather than allowing them to remain in the US to pursue their case, while also increasing opportunities for people to apply for asylum from their home countries rather than at the border.
Meanwhile, the US proposed the toughest policy yet to discourage a surge of border crossers when Title 42 ends: anyone who enters the US unlawfully would not be eligible to request asylum. This would be a significant change in the traditional policy toward people fleeing persecution in another country. Only migrants who use the already overworked ‘CBP On’ phone app to schedule asylum hearings would be allowed into the country.
- Pray that these particular women have the courage to continue their quest for a safer life and that they will be supported along their journey.
- Grieve for those who are forced to return to a life of danger.
- Repent the economic forces that cause people to migrate.
- Ask that organizations and individuals who help migrants will be sustained in their work.
- For US citizens, work for just immigration policies.
- Support an asylum seeker by being a sponsor.
- Pray that the US government is able to implement humane treatment of migrants.