UT Dallas Professor Looks At Factors In Increase Of Migrants Crossing Into US

UT Dallas professor Dr. Deborah Kang spoke with CBS 11 News about what she believes is a contributing factor to the increase in migrants illegally crossing into the U.S. from Mexico.

Video Transcript

- As migrants cross the Texas border, I asked UT Dallas history professor Dr. Deborah Kang about the numbers that we're seeing, the thousands of adults and children. Here's her perspective.

S. DEBORAH KANG: It appears much more likely that what happened is, last fall, smugglers-- who are often members of these transnational gangs-- smugglers began advising migrants in Central America that when Trump left office, US immigration policies would change. And the smugglers in turn then lured migrants into paying them a fee to help them cross the border. And this also makes more intuitive sense, 'cause it takes several months to cross the border. So this is a process that actually began before Biden took office.

- Now I also want to point out, because previously, asylum seekers could-- they had to wait out of country for--

S. DEBORAH KANG: Yes.

- --for their documents to be processed, for the request to be processed. But now they're allowed to wait in country. That's also a big change that perhaps has created some of this uptick in what we see of folks coming in. Is that correct?

S. DEBORAH KANG: It is and it isn't a big change. The Migrant Protection Protocols that forced asylum seekers to wait in Mexico to get a court hearing for their asylum claims was, in effect, illegal under international and US law. Migrants coming to the border asking for asylum have the legal right under domestic and international law to ask for asylum and to pursue their asylum claims within the country. So what's happening now, especially with the children, that is actually following historical precedent.

- Right.

S. DEBORAH KANG: And the turning away of migrants under the Trump administration and the continued turning away of asylum seekers under the Biden administration actually is the departure from the precedent.

- Well, we will dive further into the immigration issue on "To the Point." Our program airs this Sunday at 6:00 AM on TXA 21.