Biden’s New Order Leaves Migrants at Border in Limbo Over Asylum Fate

In Mexican cities along the border with the United States, migrants were taking a wait-and-see approach to a restrictive new executive action.

Fabiola Yépez, a 20-year-old mother from Venezuela, was sheltering under a bridge in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, with her toddler son when she first learned of President Biden’s new executive order restricting asylum seekers.

Despite witnessing U.S. soldiers on the other side of the border firing nonlethal projectiles at migrants the day before, she planned to attempt crossing into the United States on Wednesday, just hours after the order took effect.

“Maybe it’s not like what they’re saying, and they won’t turn us back,” Ms. Yépez said. “I’m afraid, especially with my child in my arms.”

In the wake of the new order, migrants scattered along the U.S.-Mexico border are trying to understand how they will be affected by the measure, the most restrictive border policy instituted by Mr. Biden. The directive allows the United States to temporarily close the border to asylum-seekers when the seven-day average for daily illegal crossings hits 2,500.

In some locations along the border on Wednesday, there seemed to be confusion as to whether the order had technically taken effect and if border agents should be enforcing it. Shelter operators and humanitarian workers in Mexico were also scrambling to understand its implications.

A woman holding her 2-year-old son while waiting in the brush to cross the U.S.-Mexico border on Tuesday in Ciudad Juárez.Paul Ratje for The New York Times

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