Like most migrants seeking safety in the U.S., Willian has family here, and a niece was waiting for him. (This is a main reason why migrants have been accepting bus rides from cynical Republicans like Greg Abbott, because they are ultimately reuniting with someone.) From El Paso, he planned to travel to New York City, where he has more family.
It will be a world of difference from Ciudad Juárez, where this month violent attacks by gangs left at least a dozen civilians dead. “Assailants armed with guns and Molotov cocktails targeted convenience stores, gas stations, a pizza shop and vehicles,” The Los Angeles Times reported Aug. 13.
Willian said he didn’t leave the shelter where he’d been staying at all. He’d already faced the threat that had forced him from his home in the first place, when a motorcyclist wearing a ski mask cut him off coming home from work and threatened him for the equivalent of one third of his monthly salary. The man had somehow captured a photo of Willian’s two children at the park.
The threats continued until Willian was forced to leave, first his home, then his country. He arrived to the U.S. in hope he could ultimately bring his family too. But he instead found himself waiting in Ciudad Juárez.
Now he’ll get to pursue his case from the U.S. At the El Paso court, one Colombian man and three Venezuelan migrants got their chance too. The Texas Tribune reported that Judge Nathan Herbert wished the migrants good luck in Spanish. “‘Gracias y Dios le bendiga,’ one of the men responded. Thanks, and God bless you.”
While the Biden administration has not yet officially terminated the policy, officially known as Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), it said it was stopping use of the program following the Supreme Court’s certification. In the statement, DHS cited the policy’s “endemic flaws” and “unjustifiable human costs,” the kinds of harms that kept Willian locked away in Ciudad Juárez.
Advocates celebrated the administration’s move, also reminding that the fight to end another anti-asylum policy, Stephen Miller’s debunked Title 42 order, continues on. Like was in the case of Remain in Mexico, that policy continues because of a GOP-led lawsuit. As many as 7,000 people have been forced to wait in Mexico under the Biden administration’s court-ordered implementation of MPP. Title 42 has affected many, many times that amount.
But there is no doubt that the end of Remain in Mexico represents a significant step in trying to restore the U.S. asylum system. One Venezuelan man who was also recently disenrolled from Remain in Mexico said he was “happy,” The Texas Tribune reported. “I feel relieved.” It’s a feeling that all migrants seeking safety are deserving to have.
Asylum-seekers hope for speedy end to Remain in Mexico policy following Supreme Court decision