More migrants illegally entering the U.S. to apply for asylum are members of South America’s middle class who fly to the border by plane, according to authorities and aid workers.
While the majority of people who come to the U.S. through Mexico are among the world’s poorest fleeing poverty and crime, such as the thousands of Haitians who recently formed a makeshift camp in Del Rio, Texas, the growth in middle-class migrants reflects continued hardship in nations such as Brazil and Venezuela from the Covid-19 pandemic and associated economic downturns, as well as political instability.
The U.S. government doesn’t keep track of how migrants arrive at the border or their financial status. But Chris T. Clem, the U.S. Border Patrol’s chief patrol agent in Yuma, said agents intercept people who say they recently flew to a Mexican border city nearly every day.
“They got off the plane and went to a cab or to a bus,” Mr. Clem said of the final leg of the trip to the border near Yuma for these more-affluent migrants. “They literally were driven up and just walked up and turned themselves over to us.”
The arrival of more-affluent migrants indicates that the pandemic and its economic aftershocks are pushing some people to seek refuge in the U.S. who likely wouldn’t have come in the past.
“The global recession really made people lose hope,” said Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan Washington think tank. “It’s a big deal to go from being middle class in your country to be undocumented in the United States.”
South America and the Caribbean last year lost about 26 million jobs—the biggest economic contraction of any region in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund. And Brazil recently surpassed 600,000 Covid-19 deaths, second in the world only to the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University data.
As with other people traveling in families who enter the U.S. illegally and request asylum, most are released to shelters and then travel elsewhere to wait for their claims to be adjudicated, a process that can take years due to immigration-court backlogs.
Unlike poorer migrants from Central America and Haiti, though, middle-class migrants often leave the shelters soon after arriving for flights they booked ahead of time.
On a recent Wednesday morning, a group of about a dozen people from Venezuela walked up a river levee near the Colorado River, which marks part of the border in Yuma, looking for Border Patrol agents to surrender to. Members of the group, which appeared to include a mix of adults and teenagers, said they took three flights and a bus to arrive in Algodones, a Mexican city across the border from Yuma. They then walked into the U.S. through a wide gap in a border fence. In total, the trip took about two days, compared with months on the road that migrants from Haiti and other countries have reported.
The next day, several Brazilian migrants were released by immigration authorities to the Casa Alitas migrant welcome center in Tucson.
“We were informed by others about the process they took,” Silvana Ribiero de Santos, a 33-year-old mother, said of her family’s decision to fly to Mexico from Brazil. “In my country it is very bad. [People] don’t have anything.”
Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, Has Been Diagnosed with Terminal Cancer
This follows his transfer to a medical facility in December
The new comes from a letter he wrote:
Foreign-born population soars to new record under Biden; highest rate of immigrants since 1910
The U.S. has had a massive surge in immigration this year, with as many as 1.5 million newcomers and a record 46.2 million foreign-born people, according to a report for the Center for Immigration Studies.
After a deep trough last year, likely because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the travel and migration restrictions imposed to control the spread, the flow of people rebounded around the time President Biden was elected.
In numbers never seen before, they are coming legally through airports and land border crossings and illegally across the Rio Grande and remote regions of Arizona and California.
“There was pent-up demand for legal immigration, and illegal immigration has exploded in one of the greatest surges, if not the greatest, we’ve ever seen,” said Steven A. Camarota, the demographer who was the chief author of the report. “It’s driving the numbers up and up and up.”
As it stands, 14.2% of the U.S. population is foreign-born, or 1 out of every 7 people. That is the highest rate of immigrants in the population since 1910, when the number was 14.7%. At current trends, the government says, the U.S. will break that record well before the end of this decade.
Those numbers are even starker given the reversal of trends.
The data showed a drop of 1.2 million immigrants from February to September 2020, likely the result of coronavirus restrictions blocking new entrants, even as outmigration continued. That left the population of the foreign-born — the Census Bureau’s term — at 43.8 million.
It was up to 45 million by January and marched steadily to the current 46.2 million total shown for last month.
In the year after President Trump’s election, the immigrant population flattened.
Biden Vaccine Mandate for Contractors Blocked Nationwide
- Mandate one of a set of Biden vaccine initiatives
- States say contractor requirement violates Constitution
The Biden administration’s mandate for federal contractors’ employees to be vaccinated will be halted nationwide, amid a slew of challenges from states that say the president overstepped his authority in requiring the Covid-19 shots.
Led by Georgia, the seven states that challenged the mandate set to take effect on Jan. 4 are likely to succeed in their lawsuits against the administration’s order, U.S. District Court Judge R. Stan Baker of the Southern District of Georgia said in an order issued Tuesday.
The Biden administration mandate applies to roughly a quarter of the U.S. workforce and affects companies that do business with the federal government, including Lockheed Martin Corp., Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc.‘s Google, and General Motors Co.
Baker’s order follows a Kentucky federal judge’s grant last week of a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit involving Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio. Baker echoed what his Kentucky counterpart said, that blocking the mandate didn’t indicate that the vaccine wouldn’t be effective to stopping the spread of Covid-19, but rather that Biden didn’t have the power to issue such an executive order.
Representatives from Georgia universities testified during an injunction hearing earlier this month, arguing that implementation of the mandate would be expensive, onerous, and cost them valuable employees who haven’t yet presented proof of vaccination. Those schools receive millions from the federal government.
The court found that the states could likely prove that Congress didn’t clearly authorize the president to issue the mandate, and that it “goes far beyond addressing administrative and management issues in order to promote efficiency and economy in procurement and contracting.” The 2017 nominee of President Donald Trump said, instead, the executive order works as a “regulation of public health.”
Neither the lawyers representing the state coalition nor the U.S. government immediately responded to emailed requests for comment.
Idaho Gov. Brad Little cheered Tuesday’s ruling in a statement. The state is part of the Georgia-led contractor mandate challenge, as well as lawsuits against the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration’s shot-or-test emergency regulation for large U.S. businesses, and another inoculation rule for healthcare workers.
“Yet another one of President Biden’s vaccine mandates have been temporarily shut down because the states—including Idaho—took a stand against his unprecedented government overreach into Americans’ lives and businesses,” Little said in the statement. “All three mandates are now completely stalled. We will continue to press forward in our fight against the federal government’s bad policies.”