Entering the White House, President Joe Biden promised millions of voters that he would roll back the Migrant Protection Protocols and the Asylum Cooperative Agreements set in place by former President Donald Trump. Repealing these programs will go a long way toward providing asylum to a large number of people from primarily Spanish-speaking countries. Unfortunately, the process of repealing these Trump administration measures sidelines thousands of Black immigrants from non-Spanish-speaking nations.
“It is a step in the right direction. But it’s not a policy that is a solution for all the migrants that have been waiting in a corner for so long,” Paulina Olvera Cáñez of Espacio Migrante told BuzzFeed News.
“So we don’t just want an end to MPP, but to the practice of making asylum-seekers wait in Mexico in general, because that is not safe.”
There are an estimated 15,000 Black immigrants stuck alongside the southern border. Remaining in Mexico until they're allowed to enter the United States legally, thousands of Black immigrants face higher rates of discrimination, police brutality and racism than other groups. Even as they wait to enter America legally, Black asylum seekers face threats of deportation and are often exploited financially and physically as a result.
“Black migrants get noticed immediately, so they get stopped by the police a lot more,” Cáñez added.
“And when the police stop them, they may ask for money in exchange for not turning them over to immigration, or they might just mistreat them. They face greater discrimination not just because of the language, but also because of racism in Mexico.”
Even after meeting with immigration officials, Black asylum seekers still face intense racism. A woman by the name of Laure reportedly fled from Cameroon before making stops in Nigeria, Ecuador and Colombia and Mexico.
“When you arrive at immigration, they treat you like a pig. They prefer to have Central Americans. Nobody gives you any attention,” she told BuzzFeed News.
“In immigration, the Central Americans have a line, the Africans have another line.”
With legal, political and logistical hurdles, it does not look like this process will speed up anytime soon. Tragically, that leaves tens of thousands Black asylum seekers in danger as the federal government works through its issues.
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