How border agreements and the 2024 presidential election impact your immigration

In 2024, a US presidential election year, discussions on border control and agreements are crucial. These agreements can significantly influence immigration patterns, visa enforcement strategies, and humanitarian concerns. Border agreements often involve multiple countries and aim to manage the flow of migrants and asylum seekers across country borders. For example, the US and Mexico have agreements on deterring illegal border crossings, the types of immigrants each country will accept, and implementing security measures.

According to an article by the National Library of Medicine, US border agreements may also have unintended consequences, such as causing a surge in unlawful migration rather than acting as a deterrent. At Stump and Associates, we know it’s important to consider the impact border control has on immigration policies and their potential effects on our clients. 

The purpose of border agreements

Border agreements aim to facilitate the secure and efficient movement of people and goods across borders while addressing security and humanitarian concerns. 

Many border agreements intend to:

  1. Create visa policies: Agreements may include mutual visa policies, allowing for the freedom of movement across borders for residents in border areas and replacing passport checks with visual surveillance of vehicles at reduced speed. An example of this type of agreement is the Schengen Agreement in the European Union. 
  2. Establish information exchange: Customs Mutual Assistance Agreements (CMAA) provide the legal framework for the exchange of information to assist in the enforcement against customs offenses and the prevention of crimes associated with goods crossing international borders.
  3. Provide coordinated border management: Agreements may involve a comprehensive approach to border management and control, combining customs, immigration, border security, and agricultural protection into one coordinated and supportive activity.
  4. Prevent illegal activities: Agreements aim to protect borders from the illicit movement of weapons, drugs, contraband, and people while promoting lawful entry and exit and lawful trade, which is essential to homeland security and economic prosperity.
  5. Ensure humanitarian provisions: Some agreements may include provisions for the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, such as the Safe Third Country Agreement and the inactive Migrant Protection Protocols, which restrict asylum seekers’ ability to access protection in the US, Canada, and Mexico.

Why border agreements should matter to prospective immigrants

Border control agreements matter to people considering immigrating to the United States for several reasons. These agreements can impact the ability of individuals to seek asylum or refuge in the US by affecting the flow of refugees and asylum seekers, as well as the safety and well-being of those individuals. For example, the US-Mexico Migration Cooperation Agreement and the Safe Third Country Agreement between the United States and Canada have restricted the ability of asylum seekers to access protection in these countries, leading to increased risk and vulnerability for those individuals. 

Concerns have been raised about the violation of the human rights of migrants and asylum seekers. Countries establishing barriers to prevent migrants from setting foot on their territories can force them to stay in the first country they reach once rather than seeking asylum in their intended destination. This can make it hard for asylum seekers to ask for safety, get help, or be treated well

An article by Human Rights First claims that the US-Mexico Migration Cooperation Agreement and the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) between the United States and Canada have affected asylum seekers’ ability to access protection in these countries. The article also alleges that the implementation of border agreements has resulted in human rights violations, including the denial of fair access to the asylum system, the separation of families, and the return of asylum seekers to dangerous environments. Policies such as the Migrant Protection Protocols have resulted in unsafe conditions for asylum seekers waiting at the US-Mexico border, highlighting the challenges and dangers that refugees and asylum seekers face as a result of border agreements.

Criticisms of immigration border agreements 

Border agreements as a tool for immigration control have faced significant criticism, with several key points raised. The criticisms listed below shed light on the complex and challenging circumstances of US immigration policies:

  • Incentivizing illegal border crossings: Some border agreements, such as the US-Mexico Migration Cooperation Agreement, have been criticized for incentivizing irregular border crossings and encouraging migrants to try to evade detection. According to the American Immigration Council, with more restrictions at the border, there are currently over 1.3 million pending asylum applications, including roughly 750,000 in immigration courts and over 600,000 at US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The average asylum case in immigration court now takes 4.25 years from the start through a final asylum hearing.
  • Impact on border security and drug seizures: Some have argued that processing asylum seekers has led to a reduction in the agency’s ability to seize drugs coming across the border and that cartels have used large migrant crossings to distract border agents in some circumstances. 
  • Overwhelming resources: Agreements that result in increased deportations from Mexico may strain federal resources and overwhelm already-crowded facilities in the US.

Alternatives to border control

Several alternatives to border agreements for immigration control have been proposed. One alternative involves increasing resources to the US Border Patrol to improve the humanitarian processing and transportation of migrants. This includes expanding Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) capacity to process asylum seekers at ports of entry in a timely, orderly, and fair manner and publicizing this route. Alternatively, the National Immigration Forum proposes the creation of a border court division of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) to allow for faster resolution of cases involving recent entrants at the border, resolving long asylum case wait times. Other approaches include significant reforms to the current immigration system and addressing the root causes of migration.

The proposed alternatives to border agreements for immigration control are highly relevant in the 2024 presidential election year. US immigration policies have been a longstanding and contentious issue, and they are expected to be debated and considered by presidential candidates and policymakers during the election year. The surge of asylum seekers and migrants at the US border has intensified the focus on finding practical and humane solutions to manage the situation. 

Humanitarian immigration options in the United States

Border control agreements often intend to deter unlawful entry into the United States and reduce the number of asylum seekers. Humanitarian pathways for immigration offer alternative routes for individuals seeking safety and protection. These pathways are designed to provide permanent protections in the US to those fleeing persecution and violence. By bolstering alternatives, the US aims to offer more guaranteed access to protections, work authorization, and family reunification, effectively reducing pressure at the border and easing the strain on the overburdened asylum system.

The United States offers several humanitarian pathways for immigration, including the following:

  1. Temporary Protected Status (TPS): TPS is granted to eligible nationals of designated countries already in the United States. It allows them to stay for a limited period due to temporary conditions in their home countries, such as armed conflict or environmental disasters.
  2. Humanitarian Parole: Individuals outside of the United States may request parole in the United States based on humanitarian or significant public benefit reasons.
  3. Refugee Resettlement: Refugees are individuals who are unable or unwilling to return to their home country because of a well-founded fear of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) considers refugees for resettlement in the United States.

The impact of US border agreements on immigration is a critical issue, particularly in the lead-up to the 2024 presidential election. These agreements have far-reaching implications for immigration patterns, visa enforcement strategies, and humanitarian concerns. As the discussions around border control and agreements continue to evolve, it is essential to consider how they may affect you or your family. 

At Stump and Associates, we are committed to navigating these complex issues and advocating for our clients’ best interests. If you have questions or concerns about your immigration situation or need expert guidance on related matters, please send us a message. Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to providing comprehensive support and legal expertise in many areas of immigration law.

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