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Strained U.S. Immigration System Draws More and More Asylum Claims

U.S.Strained U.S. Immigration System Draws More and More Asylum Claims

For decades, single young men, mainly from Mexico and later Central America, did their best to sneak past U.S. border agents to reach Los Angeles, Atlanta and other places hungry for their labor.

Today, people from around the globe are streaming across the southern border, most of them just as eager to work. But rather than trying to elude U.S. authorities, the overwhelming majority of migrants seek out border agents, sometimes waiting hours or days in makeshift encampments, to surrender.

Being hustled into a U.S. Border Patrol vehicle and taken to a processing facility is hardly a setback. In fact, it is a crucial step toward being able to apply for asylum — now the surest way for migrants to stay in the United States, even if few will ultimately win their cases.

We are living in an era of mass migration — fueled by conflict, climate change, poverty and political repression and encouraged by the proliferation of TikTok and YouTube videos chronicling migrants’ journeys to the United States. Some six million Venezuelans have fled their troubled country, the largest population displacement in Latin America’s modern history. Migrants from Africa, Asia and South America are mortgaging their family land, selling their cars or borrowing money from loan sharks to embark on long, often treacherous journeys to reach the United States.

In December alone, more than 300,000 people crossed the southern border, a record number.

It is not just because they believe they will be able to make it across the 2,000 mile southern frontier. They are also certain that once they make it to the United States they will be able to stay.

Forever.

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