More migrants are arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border as the United States ends Title 42, a pandemic-era rule that allowed the country to deport immigrants quickly.
Instead, the Biden administration has implemented a patchwork of old and new border policies aimed at deterring and controlling border crossings, with limited legal recourse for asylum seekers.
But economic strength will continue to be a big factor in attracting people to the United States, regardless of what President Joe Biden does.
“Immigrants come to this country because employers in this country want them,” said Dilip Lata, chief immigration expert at the World Bank Group.
Will Cardoso, a 21-year-old asylum seeker from Venezuela, found a job days after crossing the border into Houston in early 2021. Her family fled the country after a series of politically motivated violent attacks and sought her asylum, she said. and temporary protection status.
Her story is one of the millions of immigrants who have arrived on the Southwestern border in recent years, knowing that jobs and a better life await on the other side of the world’s largest economy. increase.
Finding a job was easy, but Cardoso’s entry into the U.S. workforce was less than ideal. Mr. Cardozo arrived late at his workplace in his first week at the Houston restaurant. She said she was told by her boss to take off her jacket as a “punishment”. She refused and quit.
“I was really scared. I cried,” Cardoso said in Spanish. “I’ve considered reporting him many times, but he arrived recently and didn’t want to go through that process.”
A grocery store then hired her. She was treated well at this job, but her salary was only $9 an hour. Later, when a higher-paying position to test for COVID-19 came up, she accepted it.
The job was tough, she said, but she was studying medicine in her hometown. They paid her for each of her COVID-19 tests, which brought her home about $3,000 a month.
“You’ll see a lot of people doing tests. Sometimes we didn’t have everything worked out by the end of the day,” she said.
She had contracted COVID-19 several times while testing large numbers of people, but she still hadn’t received her work permit yet, so she thought it was a good job.
She then said she quit her job abruptly for work reasons and refused to pay her about $6,000 for the last two months she had worked.
“I was worried because I was the only one in my family feeding me, there was no food and my family didn’t want to pay me,” she said.
Still, Cardoso’s work challenges are small sacrifices to keep America safe.
“It was nothing compared to what we suffered in Venezuela,” Cardoso’s mother Cora said in Spanish. Cardoso and his mother, Cora, are called by abbreviations for fear of punishment for working without a license.
They are from Maracaibo. Once a wealthy oil boom town, after years of severe economic mismanagement and political repression, it is now rife with poverty and violence.
Cardoso said when he returned to his hometown, he was kidnapped by police as a teenager and murdered by family and friends because of his political beliefs against Venezuela’s authoritarian government led by President Nicolás Maduro.
And then there was the day when the men opened fire on her grandma’s house.
“Everyone was able to get out of the back,” Cora said. “They set the house on fire. Nothing is left.”
They fled through the back door and hiked for hours through the woods before fleeing the country, she said.
Cardozo, his mother, and two sisters flew to Mexico in January 2021 and crossed the Texas border near Laredo to seek asylum in the United States. They are among about 300,000 Venezuelans who have since reached the U.S.-Mexico border, according to reports. US Customs and Border Protection.
Although safety was the main reason the family left the country, the economic benefits of moving to the United States rather than to countries such as Costa Rica or Chile are significant.
“Between Venezuela and the United States, post-migration wage increases could reach 20-fold, or even 100-fold,” said World Bank’s Lata.
And migrants often take the low-wage jobs that employers are willing to take that are difficult to fill, he said. That is why any successful border immigration solution must take into account the implicit labor dynamics.
“Establishing barriers at borders, airports and other checkpoints may slow things down a bit, but it will create further distortions and certainly reduce the well-being of both the country of origin and the well-being of its citizens.” And so do U.S. employers,” said Rhasa, proposing a flexible migration model that can adapt to changing labor demands.
Immigrants coming to the US are growing the economy through labor supply, innovation and entrepreneurship, Lata added. Same with the Cardozo family. They have started a new business selling arepas, a traditional Venezuelan snack, out of coolers.
Cardoso said it’s not the most lucrative job at $5 a job, but it covers your living expenses and is relatively safe.
“It’s good for now that they don’t take dangerous jobs where they abuse or abuse us,” she said.
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