SAN DIEGO — As Title 42 is set to expire next week, we’ve been following the influx of migrants coming to our border here. Some of them are coming from as far away as Africa and are hoping to gain entry into the United States.
Immigration advocates say the migrants don’t feel safe in Mexico or their home countries in Africa and they say racism has been a huge barrier.
Tsion Gurmu is the legal director of The Black Alliance for Just Immigration.
“Migration to Europe is becoming increasingly difficult and they are externalizing their borders and enforcing folks to remain on the continent in order to be processed and seek refuge in Europe," she said.
"And so with those doors closing a lot of African migrants have been forced into other options. One option is relying on permissive immigration policies in Ecuador, Brazil and Guyana as an entry point for an incredibly difficult and dangerous journey by land towards Mexico and then onwards to the United States,” Gurmu said.
US officials say there’s been an influx of migrants at our border wall because Title 42 is ending. That’s the law that says people from a country where communicable diseases, like COVID-19 are present, must be removed and not allowed to enter the United States.
Friday morning, The World Health Organization downgraded the COVID-19 pandemic saying it’s no longer an emergency spurring new interest at crossing American borders.
That interest has been met with pushback.
“Border externalization measures disproportionately impact Black migrants and fuel anti-Black racism across throughout the Americas," Gurmu said. "We have worked with several Black migrants who unknowingly sought asylum in Mexico. A country that they felt unsafe in, unknowingly been granted legal permanent residence in Mexico, a country that they do not feel safe in and do not seek that sort of status in."
Tsion says after making the journey from Africa to South America and despite the racism they’ve faced African migrants are not giving up hope of a better life in the United States. “They are resilient and pushing to make these systems function better. They have been consistently pushing for equity in these systems that have been placed around them."