Desperate Migrants Seeking a New Life

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“I don’t know anyone who has been deported,” Carolina Ortiz, a migrant from Colombia, said in an interview at an encampment outside Jacumba Hot Springs, about 60 miles southeast of San Diego.Credit…Mark Abramson for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Most Migrants Arrive Believing They Can Stay,” by Miriam Jordan (news analysis, front page, Feb. 1):

While Ms. Jordan acknowledges that we live “in an era of mass migration — fueled by conflict, climate change, poverty and political repression,” her analysis understates the human needs that push desperate people to seek protection at our borders.

An investigation by The El Paso Times found that migrant deaths surged at the El Paso border in fiscal year 2023 to the highest level on record. Cruel policies like Title 42 and “Remain in Mexico” stranded many in dangerous situations in cities like Ciudad Juárez or drove them to risk death. Despite this — because of the urgency of their needs — migrants still come.

The piece does not grasp the failure of U.S. enforcement. In fiscal year 2023, the Biden administration deported more than 142,000 immigrants. It deported 20 percent more parents and children than President Trump removed in fiscal year 2020. Still, people come.

Ultimately, we need long-term and sustainable solutions, including more legal pathways to enter the U.S. in the face of a changing world. We know from our daily work that when people have orderly, legal options for entering the country, they take them. Our chaos and fears are the result of our choice not to provide these solutions.

Marisa Limón Garza
El Paso
The writer is executive director of Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

To the Editor:

It’s true that our asylum system is under-resourced. We need more trained officials to adjudicate claims, and more funding for legal representation and community-based case management to help people navigate the process.

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