Border Crisis: The Reasons Behind the Surge
By Everton Prospere
Volume 2 Issue 1
October 8, 2021
Image provided by BBC News
In recent months, a series of migrant waves have swept the United States southern border, particularly affecting the state of Texas. Most recently, a large number of immigrants have come to Del Rio, a town located in southwestern corner of the state. As per CNN, over 14,000 migrants arrived at Del Rio, forming a temporary encampment under a bridge. The arrival of such a significant number of migrants marked an added border crisis which the government scrambles to control. However, while the Biden administration attempts to tackle this crisis, The Washington Post describes it as the biggest surge in over twenty years. In order to comprehend this rush of immigrants, several social, economic, and political reasons require evaluation.
The country of origin must first be taken into account when assessing migrant surges. These immigrants have mostly come from the country of Haiti. Haiti, officially known as the Republic of Haiti, is a small country sharing the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. In modern times, Haiti is known for its political and environmental issues. The country’s president, Jovenel Moïse, was recently assassinated in his own residence by an armed group of mercenaries. This threw the already fragile and impoverished country into more political unrest, with the government unable to control most of the country. Following this political instability, the country was hit by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake, killing over 2,200 people and crippling the already-poor infrastructure, according to The Guardian. These two examples show the type of instability Haiti suffers, in turn explaining the recent migrant surge. However, most immigrants did not come directly from Haiti; rather, the majority already resided in Latin America and South America. The Associated Press reports many Haitians fled to the United States because of an extension granted during the spring to the protections of Haitian migrants already residing in the United States; despite this, online posts communicating the extension often left out the portion of the policy that announced only migrants in the United States were eligible. This misinformation created an effect in which thousands of migrants crossed the Mexican border to Del Rio, seeking refuge. A final cause to this crisis is the stability and opportunity in the United States. One Haitian migrant, interviewed by CNN, specifically stated that “[he] wanted a better life,” which continues to demonstrate the assets the United States has to offer. To immigrants, the United States is primarily a land of freedom - a privilege that many countries do not offer their citizens.
With the Biden administration attempting to handle the border crisis through court cases and deportations, the rest of the country continues to follow the headlines. With recent reports of border patrol agents whipping migrants on horseback, as well as widespread disease affecting the migrants (according to the Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, about twenty percent of migrants at the border are ill), the country watches the unstable scenes occurring at the border.