TIJUANA (Border Report) — Hundreds of migrants, mostly from Mexico, staged a demonstration outside the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana on Thursday afternoon claiming Title 42 discriminates against immigrants from Latin America.
Title 42 was instituted during the Trump administration as a way to minimize the spread of COVID-19 following an order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was never proven that migrants coming to the U.S. were carrying the virus.
The order has allowed U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers to expel from the U.S. immigrants apprehended after crossing the border illegally preventing the migrants from asking for asylum.
“The reason for this protest is discrimination that exists under Title 42,” Albert Rivera said in Spanish.
Rivera runs one of the largest migrant shelters in Tijuana and helped organize the demonstration.
“This only applies to us from the Americas, but it’s not in play for others from other parts,” he said. “You won’t find doctors or scientists say we are carriers of COVID-19.”
Rivera said he and the demonstrators agree Ukrainian refugees should be given access to the U.S. but said they don’t agree with America’s policy to let them in and not all migrants over concerns with the virus.
“We’re not the pandemic, we don’t have it,” Katia said in Spanish.
Katia told Border Report she is from Honduras and has been in Tijuana for about a year trying to get permission to cross the border.
Others like Anabel Gutierrez said they feel discrimination by the way the U.S. is allowing some migrants north of the border and keeping others out.
She was talking about a disparity she saw as thousands of Ukrainian migrants allowed to cross the border into the U.S. without regard to Title 42 or COVID-19.
“We have rights as migrants to cross the border just like the Ukrainians,” said Gutierrez.
“We have been displaced and affected by violence back home,” said Samuel Sanchez, from the Mexican state of Michoacan. “We’ve seen people from other countries given access, but it’s not fair we can’t get in.”
As of April 25, Ukrainians are no longer being allowed to enter the U.S. through land ports of entry and must go to Mexico City to apply for asylum as part of the “United 4 Ukraine” program. Ukrainians are also urged to apply for asylum in Europe.
The White House had announced a plan to end Title 42 on May 23, but a court in Louisiana issued an order to the policy in place until other legal proceedings are completed.
According to the Pew Research Center, almost 1.8 million migrants have been expelled due to Title 42 since it was put in place two years ago at the height of the pandemic.
Border Report reached out to the U.S. Consulate about the migrants’ concerns and the protest. It sent the following statement:
“We respect the right to protest. The presidents of the United States and Mexico share the vision of an immigration system that humanely protects our respective borders and expands legal avenues of opportunity and protection in the United States. We refer the public to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol for details about Title 42.”