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Crossing the Mexican border, migrants get a jump after the US court ruling

Crossing the Mexican border, migrants get a jump after the US court ruling

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CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico, Dec 28 (Reuters) – Even before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday chose keep in place measure aimed at deterring border crossings, hundreds of migrants in northern Mexico took matters into their own hands to sneak into the United States.

The controversial pandemic-era measure known as Section 42 was expires December 21stbut last-minute legal stays have left border policy in limbo and led many migrants to decide they have nothing to lose by crossing anyway.

After spending days in cold border townsgroups of migrants from Venezuela and other countries targeted by Title 42 have chosen to flee rather than sit out the uncertainty of the legal tug of war playing out in US courts.

“We ran and hid until we got out,” said Jonathan, a Venezuelan migrant who crossed the border from the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez into El Paso, Texas with his wife and five children, ages 3 to 16. , on Monday evening.

Giving only his first name and speaking by phone, Jonathan said he had already spent several months in Mexico and did not want to enter the United States illegally.

But the thought of failing after a journey that took his family through the dangerous jungles of Darien in Panama, up into Central America and into Mexico was more than he could bear.

“It will be the last straw if we get this far and then they send us back to Venezuela,” he told Reuters.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a request by a group of Republican state attorneys general to delay a judge’s ruling invalidating Title 42. They argued that repealing it would increase border crossings.

The court said it will hear arguments on whether states can step in to protect Title 42 during its February session. The decision is expected by the end of June.

Reuters images showed migrants racing across a busy highway along the border last week, one man barefoot and carrying a small child – the kind of risky crossing that worries migrant advocates.

“We’re talking about people who come to seek asylum … and still cross the border in very dangerous ways,” said Fernando Garcia, director of the Border Network for Human Rights.

John Martin, deputy director of the Homeless Opportunity Center in El Paso, said the number of migrants his shelter has taken in have increasingly been people who crossed illegally, including many Venezuelans.

“At one point the majority were documented; now I can see it turning around,” he said.

The agency’s El Paso sector was logging about 2,500 daily encounters with migrants in mid-December, but that number dropped over Christmas to just over half of what it was at the time of the ruling, CBP data show.

On Tuesday before the Supreme Court’s decision, a Venezuelan migrant in Ciudad Juarez, who goes by the name Antonio, said he was waiting to see if American border surveillance would drop, hoping to earn money in the United States to send home.

“If they don’t end Title 42,” he said, “we’re going to continue to come in illegally.”

Elsewhere along the border, other migrants said they felt they had exhausted their options.

“We have no future in Mexico,” said Cesar, a Venezuelan migrant in Tijuana who did not give his last name, explaining why he once tried to cross the border fence to enter the United States and plans to try again.

Reporting by Dayna Beth Solomon in Mexico City and Jose Luis Gonzalez in Ciudad Juarez; Additional reporting by Lisbeth Dias and Ted Hesson; Editing by Dave Graham and Gerry Doyle

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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