Asylum program comes to Arizona; Rose Law Group Director of Immigration Dept. Darius Amiri says it will provide access for vulnerable cases

Children peer through the border fence in Nogales, Sonora during a march led by migrants on April 30, 2021 who wanted to call attention to immigration policies in the United States that have prevented them from entering the country while they seek political asylum. Nate Huffman/AZPM Staff

The Biden administration is asking humanitarian groups to recommend vulnerable migrants to bypass pandemic expulsions

By Alisa Reznick | Arizona Public Media

This month the Associated Press reported that the Biden administration is working with six Mexico-based aid groups called the consortium, and asking them to identify the most vulnerable migrants for asylum processing. The program began in El Paso and is now underway in Nogales, Sonora.

The Biden administration is still using Title 42, the pandemic-era policy enacted under former President Trump, to immediately return most migrants back to Mexico. But under the new consortium program, a few hundred people a day will be able to bypass the pandemic policy.

Joanna Williams with advocacy group Kino Border Initiative is coordinating with local consortium affiliates to make referrals in Nogales. She said migrants there have spent months organizing marches and other events asking President Joe Biden to restore the asylum system.

“It’s that kind of political pressure that has pushed the Biden administration to open this tiny window, it’s certainly not a door, and it’s not a restoration of legal access,” she said.

“Though the Biden Administration continues to deny the majority of would-be asylum seekers entry into the United States under Title 42, this development will open a small window of access for some of the most vulnerable or sympathetic cases.”

Darius Amiri, Rose Law Group Immigration Law Dept. Chair

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