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Ruling on US Pandemic Border Restrictions Leaves Thousands in Limbo

After fleeing Cameroon in 2018, Joy worked and travelled across Latin America. She has now been waiting for two years in northern Mexico for a chance to seek US asylum, and a decision by a Louisiana judge on Friday means she may be waiting months more.

“I lost everything, but they never received me, they never considered my case,” Joy, who works as a community organiser at a non-profit, said of the US. “Here in Tijuana, it’s not a secure place.”

Joy is one of thousands of migrants at the border left in limbo this week after a US judge blocked President Joe Biden’s attempt to reopen much of the country’s asylum system by lifting a measure known as Title 42, which allows for the expulsion of migrants as a pandemic health precaution.

“I get text messages every day from people telling me about the dangers that they are continuing to face and about their fear,” said Savi Arvey, policy adviser on the migrant rights and justice team at the Women’s Refugee Commission. “I’ve spoken to Central Americans who have crossed the border with their families multiple times for the opportunity to seek asylum.”

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