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HomeTopicsLatin AmericaUS Expels Over 145,000 Migrants Since Lifting Title 42 in May

US Expels Over 145,000 Migrants Since Lifting Title 42 in May

The United States has expelled more than 145,000 migrants since May and will continue “enforcing the law,” a U.S. official warned on Thursday.

On May 12, the government of President Joe Biden lifted a health regulation known as Title 42 that allowed blocking almost all migrants arriving without the necessary documents to enter the country.

At the same time, it implemented new rules for entry, which in practice restrict access to asylum, for example by forcing migrants to make an appointment through a mobile phone application (CBP One) or to process it in the countries they transit through.

Those who try to enter by circumventing these “legal channels” can be expelled through expedited repatriations.

“We have already deported more than 145,000 people since May 12 and we continue to enforce U.S. laws,” Luis Miranda, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said at a virtual press conference.

Washington has applied Title 8, a regulation that allows expulsion with a 5-year re-entry ban and possible criminal prosecution, since May.

To reach U.S. territory, most migrants embark on dangerous journeys. Some cross the Darien jungle, a swampy area between Panama and Colombia without infrastructure for a massive flow of people.

According to Panama’s Migration Department, from January 1 to August 8, more than 267,000 people have crossed the Darien.

Rumors and Lies

Many of the migrants currently passing through the Darien are “Venezuelans and Ecuadorians,” Marta Youth, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, said at the same press conference.

Miranda attributes part of this migration to “rumors” and “lies” spread on social media.

“On TikTok and other social networks they make the Darien crossing seem not so difficult,” he says, insisting that people “don’t believe what comes to them via WhatsApp.”

The United States, Colombia and Panama have intervened to counter criminal gangs that extort migrants. According to Miranda, since April 20, the United States has helped “mobilize more than 3,880 Colombian and Panamanian security forces in the Darien and more than 271,000 pounds (123,000 kilos) of cargo.”

The “legal channels” also include Mobility Service Offices opened in Colombia, Guatemala and Costa Rica, where the United States pre-selects migrants who will be allowed to enter the country.

In them, experts and officials determine whether migrants can access refugee status, temporary stay authorization, family reunification or a work permit.

As of August 10, “more than 19,000 people have registered in Colombia and Guatemala,” and in Costa Rica the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) had access to “4,500 people, of which more than 1,300 were referred to the refugee program,” Youth detailed.

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