Deported from the United States to their homeland on the orders of the Trump administration, Mexicans are waiting for his successor Joe Biden to allow them to return.
Mauricio Lopez was born in Mexico City, but raised in North Carolina without any immigration papers.
In 2016, following the election of outgoing Republican President Donald Trump, he was forced to return to Mexico.
Like many others in his case, Mauricio, 26, is banking on Democrat Biden to reform US immigration laws.
“If Biden relaxes immigration laws, puts asylum procedures in place, or makes it easier for us to get work permits or tourist visas, since a lot of us have family there- low, then Biden’s victory will not be in vain, ”Mauricio told AFP, a sister of whom still lives in the United States.
This “dreamer” [comme on appelle ceux qui sont arrivés aux États-Unis lorsqu’ils étaient enfant] belongs to a community of migrants who had successfully integrated into the United States as part of a program that allowed young people in his condition to work, study and drive. Until his expulsion.
Yet none of these migrants are unaware that Biden was the vice-president of Barack Obama whose administration deported 3 million undocumented foreigners.
But they also saw that the Trump killer sent signals to them during his campaign, showing that he wanted to reverse the anti-immigration policies of the Trump administration.
This reversal may however be complex, according to immigration experts who consider that the Democrats must first control the two legislative chambers in order to pass a bill in this direction.
“Even with the best will in the world, it won’t happen immediately. Under Trump, the entire immigration system has been stripped of its judges, and it will take a long time to turn the tide, ”explains Leticia Calderon, researcher at the Mora Institute in Mexico City.
According to this immigration specialist, one would expect in principle that the Biden government would reinstate the protection programs for “dreamers” still subject to appeal procedures by the American courts, following the injunctions of the organizations of defense of the rights of man.
“Trump has been very aggressive towards these migrants. It is possible that these procedures will be resolved during the first 100 days of the new administration, but this risks being blocked in the Senate, ”warns Leticia Calderon.
“With Biden, the ‘dreamers’ still have more hope of obtaining citizenship or a residence permit,” said Mauricio Lopez.
Keep a cool head
The story of Ben Moreno, a 54-year-old Mexican deported during Obama’s presidency, is not much different from Mauricio’s. Like him, he expects a lot from Biden.
A father of two, Ben Moreno ran a construction company in Indianapolis, Indiana.
He was first deported to Coahuila in the north of his native Mexico in the 1990s, before returning illegally to the United States and being escorted back to the border a second time in 2014.
In the last election, his family, including his parents who voted for the first time, nevertheless chose the Democrat.
“I don’t think Biden will end the deportations, but I hope this administration will be fair about who it is deporting and how it goes about it,” Ben Moreno hopes.
The construction of a wall between Mexico and the United States at the initiative of Donald Trump, the draconian restrictions imposed on legal immigrants and the reduction of the number of refugees by 80 pc, were the pillars of the policy of the outgoing president in this domain.
And even if the hopes placed in Biden are high within the community of Mexican migrants, Leticia Calderon prefers to keep a cool head.
“It’s not the bad guy who leaves, nor the good guy who arrives. Immigration to the United States has no political party, ”warns this specialist.
There are 12 million people born in Mexico and 26 million second or third generation immigrants living in the United States.
According to the Mexican Interior Ministry, in the first half of this year, nearly 89,000 Mexicans were expelled from the United States.