DALLAS — White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced Feb. 10 that the Joseph Biden administration will continue to use a COVID-19 order from President Donald Trump’s administration to immediately expel would-be immigrants who cross the border from Mexico. “The vast majority of people will be turned away,” Psaki said.
The Biden administration has also opened a new 160,000 square foot immigration detention center in Donna and announced plans to reopen the Influx Care shelter to house migrant children in Carrizo Springs.
Hurricanes that hit workers and farmers hard in Central America last year, on top of the economic crisis there and in Mexico have led to a sharp increase in migrant workers trying to cross into Texas. The U.S. Border Patrol arrested over 78,000 immigrant workers in January, up from 36,679 in January 2020.
“Biden’s election has created hope for many migrants. But things haven’t changed,” said Enrique Valenzuela, head of a Chihuahua state migrant aid agency in Juárez, Mexico. While Biden has issued executive orders calling for a review of some Trump immigration policies, he has not overturned them.
Biden did order a 100-day “pause” in deportations, but that was immediately challenged by the Texas attorney general and blocked Jan. 26 by U.S. District Judge Drew Tipton.
“It is only through the actions by working people independent of the Democratic and Republican parties that we can push back the assaults by the bosses and their government on both immigrant and native-born workers,” Gerardo Sánchez, Socialist Workers Party candidate for Dallas City Council, said in a statement released Feb. 15. “The bosses use the second-class status of workers without papers to intensify the competition among workers, leading to lower wages, worsening job conditions and weaker unions for all.
“The SWP campaign fights for amnesty for all 11 million undocumented immigrants who live and work in the U.S. and against deportations,” he said. “This is a crucial question to unite the working class. My campaign will join and back all struggles by working people who stand up to the bosses.”
On Feb, 10 Sánchez was informed he will be on the ballot in the May 1 election after turning in petitions containing 222 signatures — over seven times the requirement.