For the latest episode of WOLA’s far-too-infrequent podcast, three colleagues and I talked for nearly an hour about what we saw and heard during a week along the U.S.-Mexico border in mid-November. We’re definitely still processing it.
Here’s the text from WOLA’s website:
During a week in mid-November, WOLA staff visited both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, from El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, west through Tucson and Nogales, and on to Yuma and San Luis Río Colorado. We spoke to shelter personnel, advocates, experts, service providers, and many migrants.
The migrants we met were stranded in Mexican border cities, fleeing violence and state failure but unable to ask for protection in the United States, a right normally enshrined in U.S. law, due to ongoing Trump and Biden administration policies.
Many were from Venezuela, whose citizens the United States began expelling into Mexico, under the 33-month-old Title 42 pandemic authority, in mid-October. Many were from Central America and Mexico. Some were living in overwhelmed shelters, many others were living in a tent encampment where nighttime temperatures dropped to freezing.
In this episode, WOLA staff talk about what we saw and heard on this trip at a time when the largest obstacle to seeking asylum in the United States may be about to fall. A federal judge struck down Title 42 on November 15, while we were traveling. It could finally be lifted, and the right to seek asylum at least somewhat restored, by December 21. We discuss what may come next, and what new maneuvers the Biden administration is contemplating to deter migrants from seeking asylum after Title 42 ends.
Four WOLA staff members who visited the border in November participate in this episode:
- Stephanie Brewer, Director for Mexico
- Adam Isacson, Director for Defense Oversight
- Maureen Meyer, Vice President for Programs
- Mariakarla Nodarse Venancio, Assistant Director for Cuba