WASHINGTON — The Biden administration said on Wednesday that border enforcement measures it rolled out this month led to a drop in the number of illegal transits at its southern border, claiming success in a policy that drew criticism from Republicans and even some Democrats. bottom.
On January 5, the government announced that it would deny the opportunity to apply for asylum to people from Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Haiti if they crossed the Mexican border without official port-of-entry clearance. Cubans and Nicaraguans in particular, often fleeing economic and political hardships, have traveled in large numbers in recent months, but the United States, due to diplomatic restrictions with the governments of these countries, could not expel them.
The record immigration surge at the southern border is part of a massive immigration trend that has often overwhelmed border officials and community resources and sparked relentless attacks from the Republican Party on President Biden’s border policy.
Previously, immigrants from these countries were allowed to stay in the United States temporarily. But Mexico accepted immigrants from Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua and agreed to deport them from the United States under public health officials known as Title 42, so the administration could deport them.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, the number of times Cubans, Nicaraguans, Haitians and Venezuelans were spotted crossing illegally increased from an average of 3,367 per day over the seven days on December 11 to January 24. a 97% decrease to 115 on the same day. January is on track with significantly fewer illegal crossings overall than his record-setting December.
In addition to expanding the use of Title 42, which was originally implemented as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Biden administration also has a legal pathway for people from these countries to get two years of humanitarian parole to the United States. created. Apply for a work permit now.
“These expanded border enforcement measures are working,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mallorcas said in a statement Wednesday. This came a day after 20 Republican-led states filed lawsuits against the new legal pathway, calling it the “new visa.” It’s a program that allows hundreds of thousands of foreigners to enter the United States, and there’s no basis for doing so otherwise.”
US Immigration Details
- Refugee policy: In a major effort to open the door to more refugee resettlement, the Biden administration will begin inviting civilians to directly sponsor the arrival of refugees from around the world.
- Deadly Journey: More and more migrants are crossing the perilous crossing of South and Central America to reach the United States. What makes them take that route?
- New citizen: Nearly one million immigrants will become Americans in 2022, after the pandemic left hundreds of thousands unable to vote in the 2020 election.
- Texas: A scandal-plagued border fence on the border with Mexico was essentially an orphan, functionally useless, and engineers found it at risk of being swept away by floods.
At a press conference on Wednesday, administration officials said Republican opposition to the move suggested they were not interested in resolving the southern border issue.
“Some states trying to profit from these highly effective enforcement measures are trying to stop them and cause more irregular migration on their southern borders,” Mayorcas said in a statement. I don’t understand what’s going on,” he said.
Immigration advocates are also critical of the administration’s latest measures as they lead to more restrictions on asylum.
“Instead of building barriers to asylum, we need to process asylum claims efficiently and protect people and their due process rights,” said executive director of immigration advocacy group America’s Voice. said Vanessa Cardenas. Twitter post.
About 1,400 Cubans, 280 Haitians and 44 Nicaraguans have arrived in the United States by new routes since Jan. 6, according to internal data shared by The New York Times. About 14,700 Venezuelans entered Venezuela through the parole program. To qualify, immigrants must have a sponsor in the United States who can support them for two years. Sponsors submit applications to the U.S. government to begin the process.
In October, the Biden administration rolled out a similar program for Venezuelans, reducing the number of Venezuelans crossing the border illegally by a similar amount. did not disclose whether they had come to the United States through the program.
Some Democrats and immigration advocates have been critical of the move, questioning why the administration would expand its use of enforcement policies it determined were no longer necessary for the pandemic.
Since Biden took office, the southern border has seen a historic surge in illegal immigration, with many seeking asylum in the United States to escape violence and persecution. Pandemic-era health measures have already been applied to immigrants from most countries, and he has been used more than 2.4 million times to deport immigrants who entered the United States illegally, according to government data.
The Biden administration tried to stop using the rule twice, in May and December, but was stopped by court order. In December, the Supreme Court upheld Title 42 for now.
Mexican officials say they are equally pleased with the new US border measures. In an opinion piece published in a Mexican publication this week, the country’s foreign ministry’s chief North American officer, Roberto Velasco, argued that illegal immigration is declining in both Mexico and the United States.
In Spanish, Velasco said, “The measures announced by the United States are important because they serve the dual purpose of paving the way for regular immigration while also significantly reducing the risks associated with irregular immigration flows. We are starting to make progress,” he wrote.
Starting Jan. 12, the Biden administration will allow immigrants from any country seeking refuge in the United States to apply for a humanitarian exception to public health rules using a smartphone application known as CBP One. opened. Applicant immigrants must make an appointment to arrive at a specific port of entry to be interviewed by customs and border officials.
Previously, the CBP One process was only open to immigrants who were nominated by and applied on behalf of nonprofit organizations. From May to December, more than 109,000 immigrants entered the United States this way. The administration has not expanded the number of bookings it offers, which stands at about 20,000 a month. The application is currently only available in Spanish and English and is unavailable to thousands of immigrants.
Immigration advocates working with immigrants in Mexico and the United States said the system would disadvantage migrants who need it most, such as those who don’t have smartphones or can’t afford to stay in hotels in Mexico with internet access. said to have placed
“CBP One is going to be as bad as we predicted,” writes advocacy group Al Otro Lado. Twitter post on tuesday. Migrants with resources such as smartphones and Wi-Fi “are not the most vulnerable and have appointments.”