Guatemala City, November 30 (Reuters)-A senior United Nations official criticized the United States for deporting immigrants from its southern border, prompting Washington to take quicker action to undo the tough immigration policy inherited from the previous administration.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi urges President Joe Biden’s government to cooperate more, faster, and more strategically with Mexico and Central America to provide alternatives to illegal immigration by improving security and employment opportunities .
“We hear a lot of discussions about these plans, but we currently see very little on the ground. And I think this is the real problem…prevent these movements from happening again, or rather continue to happen ,” Grandi, the former Administrator of the United Nations Palestine Refugee Agency, told Reuters in Guatemala late Monday. His travels also include Mexico and El Salvador.
Biden vowed to cancel many strict immigration policies of his predecessor Donald Trump. Nonetheless, several of Trump’s most criticized measures are still in effect, including the Migration Protection Agreement (MPP) plan, informally referred to as “Stay in Mexico”, and Article 42, which allows for the COVID-19 pandemic. And expel immigrants quickly.
“The United States is now deporting them very quickly, but we don’t agree with this,” Grandi said.
He said: “I worry that the political background is very strong, and it may be difficult for this administration to do the right things they want to do,” he added, adding that the United States should ensure “due process” before deportation.
According to the U.S. Immigration Commission, the United States has deported more than 1.2 million immigrants since the pandemic began. The number of detainees at the US-Mexico border hit a record high.
Grandi said that Mexico should also provide alternatives to immigrants, including immigrants from Haiti, who arrived at the US border after passing through Mexico and had no choice but to apply for asylum.
“We told Mexico, why not establish a separate immigration channel for them and provide them with immigration opportunities?” Grandi said. (Reporting by Sofia Menchu, writing by Cassandra Garrison; editing by David Gregorio)