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Local migrant advocates want Biden administration to protect asylum seekers

Posted at 10:57 PM, Jan 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-25 00:57:12-05

NOGALES, Ariz. (KGUN) — President Joe Biden gives the Kino Border Initiative, a migrant advocate group, high hopes for their mission to aid asylum seekers.

"We're in a both a wait and see mode but also in a space where we think it's really important that we as an organization and the public hold them accountable for what they've committed to do," said Joanna Williams, with KBI.

Through executive action, the President has reversed several Trump policies on immigration.

Halting construction of the border wall, promising support for 'dreamers,' immigrants brought to the states as children and stopping deportations for 100 days.

Williams called it progress but each passing day presents more challenges for migrants waiting on action.

"That's another day that a mom and her 10-year-old are in fear in Nogales."

Williams said the Kino Border Initiative wants assurances from the new administration for migrants who are seeking asylum.

"We think that the people who are under Migrant Protection Protocol and other people who are seeking asylum at the border should be processed and then be able to rejoin their families and friends in the U.S. While they wait for an immigration judge's decision."

The situation, she said, is much different now than it was over the last four years.

"What's changed in recent weeks is we see a little more possibility that we might make progress on these goals."

The group said it's turning their agenda in action.

Williams said they have a three-point plan to reach out to homeland security, the public and putting lawmakers in front of migrants themselves.

"Especially so that they can hear directly from migrants about their thoughts and their priorities."

Williams said the count of migrants in Nogales has been affected by the pandemic but estimates several hundred in wait at the moment.