RPT: FEATURE - From Dream-Crusher To Liberator: The Many Faces Of Biden On Southern Border

RPT: FEATURE - From Dream-Crusher to Liberator: The Many Faces of Biden on Southern Border

CIUDAD JUAREZ / EL PASO (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 28th March, 2021) A terrified looking migrant woman, Laura, made her way to the top of the Paso del Norte International bridge with her toddler in her arms and her infant daughter in tow carrying a half gallon of milk.

Laura and her kids made the long journey from the southwest coastal state of Guerrero, Mexico to the northern state of Chihuahua in order to seek asylum in the United States, gambling their fate on the decision of two US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officers monitoring the port of entry.

"Three days," Laura told Sputnik when asked how long it took her to arrive at the border. "I've come to ask for asylum and help."

Laura said she fled her hometown in the Mexican state of Guerrero because the crime rate is high and she's facing threats of having her kids kidnapped.

"I don't have any family. I have a friend in Texas - she's the one who sent me a little bit of money, but I no longer have family because they killed them all," she said.

A couple of minutes after waiting at the doorsteps of the United States, the CBP officers turned her away and suggested she visit a migrant shelter in Juarez.

Laura appeared crushed, confused, and tired.

Asked if migrants are under the impression that the Biden administration is allowing migrants into the United States, Laura said, "Honestly I have no idea. I prefer not to hear anything about it or talk about it with other people."

Laura is among tens of thousands being rejected at the southern border of the United States, which is experiencing the greatest influx of illegal immigrants in the past 20 years. Last month, 70,000 migrants were turned away immediately at the border, according to immigration agency data.

Moreover, in February alone, 100,000 migrants were apprehended at the border - a spike of nearly 30 percent from the previous month. The Biden administration is on pace to top the previous annual record set in 2019 of over 977,000.

The crisis has had a severe impact on migrant children, thousands of whom continue to arrive at the border alone without a legal guardian. On Friday, US border agency data revealed that the United States now has more than 18,000 unaccompanied migrant children in custody, a more than 5 percent single day jump. A majority of undocumented asylum-seeking migrants apprehended at the southern border are fleeing violence and poverty in Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and El Salvador.

On Thursday, during his first press conference as US commander-in-chief, President Joe Biden said the United States has rejected tens of thousands of asylum-seekers at the border and has tried to send them home but Mexico is refusing to take many migrants back.

The US has even placed 17,000 radio advertisements in Central and South America discouraging migrants from coming to the US southern border at this time.

The latest surge followed a series of executive orders by Biden to overturn most of the border control measures imposed by his predecessor, President Donald Trump.

Although the Biden administration may have provided some with false hope, others have been able to seize legitimate opportunities.

A Sputnik correspondent has seen US immigration enforcement deport several groups of migrants, including women and children, at the Paso del Norte International bridge since late February.

However, a couple of minutes later after Laura was denied entry, a group of asylum-seeking migrants who were subject to the Trump-era's Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program were granted entry into the United States.

Biden terminated MPP immediately when he came into office in January and decided to grant entry to about 25,000 asylum-seeking migrants with active MPP cases so they can await their immigration hearings in the United States after being required to wait in Mexico for about two years under the Trump administration.

The US administration started allowing groups of 25 migrants to enter the United States each day as of late February at three ports of entry.

Danio Esquiperez, an asylum-seeking migrant from Cuba, was among the group that made their way across the border after waiting for two years in Juarez.

"I feel happy and excited," Esquiperez told Sputnik as he was being escorted by a social services group shortly after stepping foot in the United States. "Thanks to him [Biden], practically, at this moment, thanks to him, this happiness we feel right now, we owe it to him and to his administration."

For two years, Esquiperez worked in construction in Juarez to earn a wage. The city has been going through seasonal whirlwinds of turf battles between cartels fighting for control of the drug corridor in the region that is used to pump product into the United States.

Esquiperez said he will wait for his immigration court hearing in El Paso, which is where his fate will ultimately be decided on whether he can stay or must be deported.

When asked if it was dangerous waiting in Juarez, Esquiperez said, "We were always in danger."