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As U.S. Opens Borders to Vaccinated Travelers, Asylum Seekers Remain Trapped in Mexico

HeadlineNov 09, 2021

The U.S.-Mexico border reopened Monday for nonessential travelers with visas who are fully vaccinated, allowing many binational families and loved ones to reunite for the first time since COVID-19 restrictions were enacted over a year and a half ago. This is a resident of Juárez, across the border from El Paso, Texas.

Lazaro Araujo: “It really is a very special day, because everyone who lives near the border knows we are like one big city. The way we live and get along is unique. And that’s why today is special, because a lot of people spent the last 20 months without seeing each other, without visiting. Today is a celebration for us.”

Loved ones also celebrated reunions at U.S. airports as restrictions were lifted for fully vaccinated international travelers. This comes as immigrant justice advocates reported that while the U.S. lifted its restrictions for nonessential travelers, Customs and Border Protection agents at U.S. ports of entry across the southern border are still blocking asylum seekers from entering the U.S., including unaccompanied children.

In related news, the Biden administration is launching an operation this week to start deportation proceedings for some 78,000 migrants who crossed into the U.S. this year but were not immediately expelled or taken to an immigration jail.

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