From Central America to Texas, the Trump administration’s policies during the COVID-19 pandemic are exposing the cracks in the already broken asylum system and further endangering vulnerable migrants. Decisions to close the border and courts, exclude undocumented immigrants from the stimulus package, deny parole to immigrants in detention, and sustain deportation flights are just some of the ways that this administration is putting migrants at further risk.
What do these policies mean for migrants and their families? For migrants under the Migrant Protection Protocols, it means further exposure to crime and depleted aid in Mexican border cities. For asylum seekers in El Paso, it means even longer wait times for a life-or-death decision from a judge. In Guatemala, it means an Indigenous community that already lacks access to healthcare has potentially been exposed. In Houston and other immigrant enclaves, it means worrying about putting food on the table and paying for aging parents’ medication in their home countries. The Texas Observer team identified people in these difficult situations whose ongoing compelling stories will help bring these problems to light.