US Border Patrol officer.
The arrests of migrants do not stop at the border. Photo: @CBP.

Status of immigrants in the U.S. ahead of the midterm elections

According to Census data, 45 million live in the country.


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With the high numbers of migrants who continue to try to enter the United States irregularly, in addition to those who already reside in the country, the migratory situation has positioned itself as one of the main issues for this month's electoral elections, especially because whoever gains control of the Senate and the House of Representatives will have the power to promote legislative initiatives or reform existing ones.

CNN presented a report that sheds light on the status of migrants in the current political situation, which is divided between offering resources to support them or strengthening laws and surveillance measures to transfer people to their countries of origin and prevent more from keep coming.

Crucial Elections

According to a September Pew Research Center report shared by CNN, Republicans consider border security and the deportation of those in the country illegally to be a priority, while Democrats place greater importance on paths to legal status for those who entered the country illegally, especially for those who did so as children.

Although the election of President Joe Biden promised changes in the immigration restrictions applied by his predecessor Donald Trump, so far it has not been possible to consolidate a reform that sides with these communities that continue to risk their lives to reach the United States only to be deported, while those who manage to stay are deprived of access to social benefits such as Medicaid, for example.

So far, Democrats and Republicans continue to campaign with divided positions on how to act in the face of the pressures that exist on the immigration system. 

Migration Status

Currently, hundreds of thousands of immigrants residing in the U.S. continue to have their immigration status undefined because there is still no concrete determination on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) by the Biden administration.

The TPS, which protects immigrants from countries that have been hit by extreme conditions, such as epidemics, wars or natural disasters, and who are in the U.S., lost several of its powers after the Trump administration argued that the conditions initials that required them were no longer present.

For now, the White House has expanded TPS coverage to other nationalities, giving approximately 143,800 immigrants from Afghanistan, Cameroon, and Ukraine the opportunity to apply for limited-time permission to live and work in the United States and avoid possible deportation. Likewise, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently extended TPS protections for eligible immigrants from Myanmar, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Venezuela, where aid for South Americans would go until March 10, 2024.

Following the most recent additions and extensions of the Biden administration, approximately 500,000 people from 15 countries are currently registered for or eligible for TPS.

¿Will the "Dreamers" go on?

Launched in 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program protected from deportation and gave work authorizations to near 800,000 young immigrants, called “Dreamers,” who arrived or stayed in the United States illegally before turning 16 years old.

Despite its valuable promise, which the Biden administration tries to protect, DACA is not the easiest path to legal citizenship, compared to those who entered the country with a temporary visa, especially after former President Trump announced in 2017 the cancellation of the program, a decision that, although blocked by the Supreme Court, generated greater uncertainty among its beneficiaries.

Title 42

Covered by the health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the previous administration designated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a public health order (Title 42) whose objective was to quickly expel migrants at U.S. land borders to supposedly stop the spread of the virus.

And it is that although Biden had promised to stop using this measure, until now Title 42 has been used to retain and deport thousands of Venezuelan migrants who arrive at the border between Mexico and the United States.

Although unaccompanied children are exempt from this measure, border officials can immediately expel migrants entering through Canada and Mexico into the U.S.

While the elections are defined, for now there is an open dispute between the Republican governors of the south and the Democratic federal government about the actions that Washington should take regarding the growing number of immigrants that will continue to arrive in the United States and the security in its borders.

According to the Pew Research Center, an estimated 34,5 million Latino Americans are eligible to vote this year.


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