Migrants trying to reach the US near Juarez
Migrants trying to reach the United States are seen near the US-Mexico border, in Ciudad Juarez. Reuters

December 18 marks International Migrants Day, and different organizations used the date to highlight the positive impact these groups can have both in their places of arrival as their origin ones.

"Migrants often maintain strong connections to their home countries while embracing their new communities, where they bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and skill," said the United Nations in a release published to mark the occasion.

The positive impact is both intangible and tangible. A study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded that "migration raises world GDP, in particular by raising productivity."

"Average per capita incomes of natives increase as their skills are complemented with those of migrants. Remittances from abroad lift income per capita in the origin countries, helping to offset the potentially negative effects of emigration," adds the report, titled The Macroeconomic Effects of Global Migration.

A recent report from the Inter-American Development Bank illustrates this positive impact in the Western Hemisphere, showing that remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) are set to increased by 9.5% in 2023.

If managed well, the UN says, "mobility can be a cornerstone of sustainable development, prosperity and progress." However, it emphasized the need for the international community to "provide people-centered and evidence-based solutions for people to remain in their communities, and for those who want to or must move."

This is because International Migrants Day takes place at a time in which the issue dominates the political conversation in the United States. Mass migration to the country continues to grow at a sustained pace and U.S. authorities are grappling to deal with the surge.

The latest example of this took place on Sunday night, when Customs and Border Protection (CBP) suspended two rail operations in Eagle Pass and El Paso -- both operating between Texas and Mexico -- amid a surge in the smuggling of illegal immigrants by train.

"CBP's Office of Field Operations will temporarily suspend operations at the international railway crossing bridges in Eagle Pass and El Paso, Texas in order to redirect personnel to assist the U.S. Border Patrol with taking migrants into custody" from Monday onwards, reads the official statement.

The CBP further disclosed that over the past few weeks, the agency made several operational adjustments intending to maximize its ability to respond, process and enforce consequences.

"In Eagle Pass, vehicular processing remains suspended at Eagle Pass International Bridge 1. In San Diego, California, San Ysidro's Pedestrian West operations remain suspended. In Lukeville, Arizona, the Lukeville Port of Entry remains closed," it added.

After Mexico witnessed a three-month surge in illegal border crossings, the country saw a 14% decline in illegal border crossings in October in comparison to September.

Republicans and Democrats are currently negotiating the implementation of a crackdown on illegal immigration, as the Biden administration seeks for Congress to pass a wider package including funding for Ukraine and Israel in their wars with Russia and Hamas.

The government could support a broader border authority to expel migrants without asylum screenings and a drastic expansion of detentions and deportations.

U.S. President Joe Biden visits El Paso
U.S. President Joe Biden in El Paso. Photo by: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

The White House indicated it would support a new law to allow U.S. border officials to summarily expel migrants without processing their asylum claims. This would effectively revive the Trump-era Title 42 pandemic order and allow officials to pause U.S. asylum law without a public health justification.

The administration would also back an expansion of a process known as expedited removal, which allows officials to deport migrants without court hearings if they don't ask for asylum or if they fail their initial asylum interviews. The program is currently limited to the border region. It would also detain certain migrants allowed into the country pending the adjudication of their claims.

Biden's position has put him at odds with members of his own party, with members from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) saying on Monday that they are "deeply concerned" about the negotiations.

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