Migrants along the U.S. border with Mexico sought shelter from the cold early Wednesday as restrictions that prevented many from seeking asylum in the U.S. remained in place beyond their anticipated end.
The U.S. government asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday not to lift the limits before Christmas, in a filing a day after Chief Justice John Roberts issued a temporary order to keep the pandemic-era restrictions in place. Before Roberts issued that order, they had been slated to expire Wednesday.
Read: US plans for more migrant releases when asylum limits end
Just after midnight, when Title 42 was supposed to be lifted, all was quiet on the banks of Rio Grande in El Paso where the Texas National Guard was posted. Hundreds of migrants had gathered by the concertina wire put up by the Texas National Guard but left earlier in the evening after being told by US officials to go to a gate to be processed in small groups.
First Sergeant Suzanne Ringle said one woman went into labor in the crowd on the riverbank and was assisted by Border Patrol agents. She added many children were among the crowd.
In the Mexican city of Juarez, across the border from El Paso, hundreds of migrants remained in line hoping that the restrictions would be lifted and they would be let through.
In Tijuana, which has an estimated 5,000 migrants staying in more than 30 shelters and many more renting rooms and apartments, the border was quiet Tuesday night as word spread among would-be asylum seekers that nothing had changed. Layered, razor-topped walls rising 30 feet along the border with San Diego make the area daunting for illegal crossings.
Read: Federal judge halts preparations for end of US asylum limit
Under the restrictions, officials have expelled asylum-seekers inside the United States 2.5 million times, and turned away most people who requested asylum at the border, on grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19 under a public health rule called Title 42. Both U.S. and international law guarantee the right to claim asylum.
The federal government also asked the Supreme Court to reject a last-minute effort by a group of conservative-leaning states to maintain the measure. It acknowledged that ending the restrictions will likely lead to “disruption and a temporary increase in unlawful border crossings,” but said the solution is not to extend the rule indefinitely.
Source: United News of Bangladesh