EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Carlos Gabriel is unfazed by the Biden administration appealing a federal judge’s order vacating a public health policy that has led to the expulsion of more than 2 million migrants.
The appeal of Title 42 expulsions, which are set to end later this month, could again delay the 24-year-old Venezuelan migrant from fulfilling his dream of securing asylum in the United States.
“We have no plan B,” he says, speaking in the third person. “We are just waiting to see what happens next. We have invested too much time on the road to go back. We are not going back.”
Carlos Gabriel, along with hundreds more Venezuelans, remains in legal limbo after arriving in Juarez, Mexico, following the Department of Homeland Security’s Oct. 12 order making citizens from that South American country amenable to expulsion under the Trump-era Title 42 public health order.
The migrant said he was in the middle of a monthlong trek from Venezuela to the U.S.-Mexico border when the order came down. He has lingered in Juarez hoping the border will reopen to asylum-seekers eventually. He takes the occasional odd job or sells trinkets on the street to make ends meet.
“A few friends have gone back, but not to Venezuela. Some are in Mexico City. Some are in the other border (cities). If things get bad, they will cross (the U.S. border) like many Mexicans do,” he said, referring to making a dash for the border.
Elizabeth’s hopes also were dashed on Oct. 12, but the Nov. 15 federal judge’s decision lifted her spirits again. Now, the Biden appeal just added to her emotional rollercoaster ride.
“They say they will open the border, then they say they will close it. I will keep working, making some money until my situation becomes stable,” Elizabeth said as she sold candy near a traffic light along a busy avenue in north Juarez. “If not this month, God willing, they will open up next year. I will not lose faith.”
Elizabeth was a secretary at a government hospital in Caracas, Venezuela. She had a home-based business on the side. But salaries remained low while the price of everything else soared. In the past year, three of her brothers migrated to other countries including the United States.
She followed in their footsteps only to find her countrymen in a crowded tent city on the wrong side of the Rio Grande. When Juarez authorities razed the camp, she rented a room in a Juarez neighborhood near the border. She has no plans to go back to Venezuela.
U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, on Thursday said she has not had a chance to study the implications of the Biden administration’s appeal. The former El Paso County Judge called for an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws to eliminate illegal immigration.
“We need to open up legal pathways to people have an opportunity to apply for status in the U.S. We have a labor shortage that can be addressed with legal migration,” Escobar said. “But when we shut down legal migration, when we limit those pathways, we should not be surprised that we hamstring an administration and there is disorder at the border.”