If you thought the Biden Administration would be the southern border’s saving grace, you might have been disappointed these past few months. The crisis persists, perhaps more so because of the fact that Biden has repealed Trump’s Remain in Mexico policy, which allows the unsupervised influx of migrants to pour in.

Now, I’m not saying that immigrants should be turned away when they are waiting to be processed into the country, or that they should be prohibited from entering at all. In fact, repealing the Remain in Mexico policy allowed migrants to finally leave violence and disease-ridden refugee camps, but it does not solve everything. Because Biden has loosened the immigration policies of the former administration, more immigrants than ever are seizing the opportunity to come in. 

But what awaits them is not easy. 

Biden has allowed immigrants to enter…and hasn’t done much else. 

Yes, the notorious Matamoros refugee camp has been emptied after MPP’s (Migrant Protection Protocols) immediate expulsion policy was revoked, but another camp has replaced it in Tijuana across from San Diego’s border, filled with more than 1,500 inhabitants since February. 

Although Remain in Mexico has been reversed, it not mean that vulnerable asylum-seekers have been welcomed to the United States with open arms. Thousands have even had their cases denied, leaving them with nowhere to go.

And now it’s Biden’s problem.

His administration did mention shortening wait times to process asylum seekers, but did not provide specific details or protocols.

The question remains: Why hasn’t Biden addressed whether or not denied applicants can appeal to re-open their case? Not to mention that being permitted to wait on the U.S. side of the border does not give refugees a sanctuary; border towns can be very unforgiving. 

For all the good that came from the Biden administration revoking MPP’s policies, such as the way many overcrowded refugee camps have emptied, there remains the problem surrounding minors, perhaps one of the strongest driving forces behind Biden’s humanitarian concerns at the border. He reversed a health order enforced under the Trump Administration that automatically turned away migrant children, but this seems to have backfired. 

More than 9,460 unaccompanied minors have flooded the border, contributing to violence, kidnapping, and human trafficking. 

Despite Biden’s March 13 announcement to send the Federal Emergency Management Agency down there, these children have filled Border Patrol detention centers. Remember the cages? These centers are no better.

And what about the migrants that Biden is turning away? COVID reasons were cited, but migrants exposed to the virus don’t have access to proper treatment on the other side of the border. If COVID was such a concern for Biden, why not stop all international migration, including air travel? Why target migrants at the southern border, who are most vulnerable as they flee the violence of their home countries, whose governments do little to fix the problem and leave all their issues at America’s doorstep. Those who have been expelled feel deceived by the current administration, who everyone thought would be the answer to the border crisis. Turning migrants away because of the pandemic is in keeping with Trump’s Title 42, part of the MPP program Biden swore to abolish entirely…but clearly did not. 

You can’t have it both ways, Mr. Biden. If you’re going to tackle a crisis, it must be handled through to the end, not halfway. 
Right now, the Department of Homeland Security says that the border is closed. So after all the raving against Trump’s anti-immigration policies, Biden’s new laws keep many migrants who hope to enter the country in Mexico.

The media praises the current administration because of the near closure of refugee camps, the heart of the border’s humanitarian crisis, like the one in Matamoros. But no one is talking about the camp in Tijuana, where migrants who don’t qualify for asylum sleep in makeshift tents without food, shelter, and proper medical care. 

Addressing the camp issues, and seeing them cleared out, does not fix the broad, intricate problem that is immigration at large.

If you’re going to tackle a crisis, it must be handled through to the end, not halfway.

Lawyers for Good Government attorney, Charlene D’Cruz told The Texas Tribune, “There’s too much chaos in an already very chaotic system. We need more transparency about what’s going to happen next and who is going to be included.”

Transparency is something this administration lacks when it comes to immigration, even when you consider how many people were allowed into the country since Biden took office. He must come up with a better plan for processing asylum-seekers, especially considering the way desperate migrants come here through dangerous means.

Right now, it has not been cited why some asylum-seekers are permitted entry and why some are not, or what categorizes someone as “vulnerable” and therefore eligible to cross the border.

Aren’t all of these people vulnerable? Aren’t they all fleeing gang violence, sexual assault, disease, and COVID-related unemployment? 

With the immigration crisis still very much a concern on our southern border, I wonder if it is still a priority of the new president now that he is in office, and no longer has to worry about pulling at our heartstrings on the campaign trail. Now that many have left the desolate refugee camps, will Biden see the rest of the job done, or take a pat on the back and forget about a people still in dire need of help?

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  • Laurie Melchionne

    Laurie Melchionne is the editor in chief at The Argo, Stockton University's independent student newspaper. Laurie majors in Literature with a double minor in Journalism and Digital Literacy/Multimedia Design. With a concentration in creative writing, Laurie loves all things editorial and communications, and believes in people sharing their voices through the written word.