(CNN) — US President Joe Biden announced Thursday that he will expand a program to accept up to 30,000 migrants per month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela, along with a plan to expel migrants from those countries who evade the laws. americans.
The announcement comes at a time when his government is facing a wave of migrants at the southern border.
In a speech from the White House, Biden also revealed plans to visit the southern US border this Sunday, during which he will stop in El Paso, Texas, to meet with local officials and address border security issues. It will be his first visit to the border as president.
For his part, the chancellor of Mexico, Marcelo Ebrard, confirmed that Biden will arrive in Mexico on Sunday, January 8 in the afternoon to participate in the North American Leaders Summit to be held from January 9 to 11, in Mexico City. Through his Twitter account, Ebrard, she shared the message in which she also welcomes the US president.
Biden calls for immigration laws again
Biden again called on Congress to pass new immigration laws, arguing that his powers to address the growing crisis are limited. He said partisan issues around border and immigration policy cloud discussions about how to handle migration and border crossings.
“It’s important to step back and see the big picture,” Biden said, citing immigrants’ desire to pursue their own version of the American dream.
The announcements and the border visit represent an increase in presidential attention on an issue that is becoming more and more of a political responsibility for Biden. He was relentlessly criticized by Republicans and even by some Democrats in the border district for failing to address the record levels of crossings of the last term.
“If the most extreme Republicans continue to demagogy on this issue and reject the solutions presented, I have only one option left… to do everything I can on my own to try to change the atmosphere,” he said.
He also said that the process he just presented “is orderly, safe and humane, and it works,” Biden said.
The president in turn acknowledged that the steps he was taking were not enough to remedy the problem, but he framed them as part of an effort to use his executive powers to manage the growing crisis.
“These actions alone that I am announcing today are not going to fix our entire immigration system, but they can go a long way to help us better manage what is a difficult challenge,” he said.
The announcements come before Biden’s first visit as president to Mexico, where he will discuss immigration issues with the president of this country, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. The Biden government is leaning on Mexico and other countries in the Western Hemisphere to give temporary protections to migrants who have fled their countries of origin.
“We should all recognize that as long as America is the land of freedom and opportunity, people will try to come here,” Biden said. “And that’s what many of our ancestors did. So it’s not surprising that it happens again today. We can’t stop people from making the journey, but we can require them to come here in an orderly fashion.”
On Sunday in Texas, Biden will hit the epicenter of the problem. El Paso began to see record levels of migrant arrivals a few weeks ago, when anxiety over the scheduled end of the Trump-era pandemic public health rule known as Title 42 led thousands of migrants to turn themselves in to border authorities or cross. to the border illegally in a very short period of time.
Title 42 allows immigration authorities to quickly remove some migrants to Mexico. The policy was scheduled to be lifted last month, but a Supreme Court ruling kept the rule in place while the legal fight in the courts continues.
Biden said he wanted to wait until he knew the outcome of Title 42 legal machinations before traveling to the border, but accused Republicans of playing political games. “They haven’t taken this seriously at all,” he said.
The announcements that Biden made this Thursday reflect that his Government is preparing for the end of Title 42, along with the implementation of a series of programs to manage the wave of immigrants that has coincided with the anticipated end of the rule.
The government will now accept up to 30,000 migrants a month from Nicaragua, Cuba, Haiti and Venezuela under a humanitarian parole program targeting those nationalities. Those who do not come to the US under that program may be deported to Mexico under Title 42, which remains in effect after a Supreme Court order last month.
Immigrants from those countries who want to come to the United States will first need to apply from their home countries, including through an app on their phones, before they travel. They must have a US sponsor and, if approved, can travel by air.
Government officials previously touted the parole program for Venezuela after its implementation late last year, blaming the policy for a drop in Venezuelan border crossings. For months, officials considered expanding the program to other nationalities, ultimately culminating in the announcement on Thursday.
Officials said the ads are meant to send a message to immigrants that they should apply to enter the United States before leaving their home countries, and that circumventing the process will result in their removal.
“My message is this: if you are trying to get out of Cuba, Nicaragua or Haiti, or planning to start a trip to the United States, don’t do it, don’t just show up at the border,” Biden said. “Stay where you are and apply legally. As of today, if you do not apply through the legal process, you will not be eligible for this new parole program.”
In addition, Biden announced new humanitarian aid to Mexico and Central America.
Reactions to the announcement of Biden’s visit to the southern border
Immigration officials and advocates along the southern US border have called on President Joe Biden to visit the border region since he took office nearly two years ago.
And now that the president has announced his visit to El Paso, Texas, the reaction is mixed. Some officials are excited that he is witnessing the border issue firsthand, while others are concerned that this one-off visit will not give the president an accurate picture and urge him to visit other parts of the border as well.
“I applaud President Biden’s decision to visit the US-Mexico border and see firsthand the challenges border communities are currently facing,” Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez said in a statement. “Our hope is that this visit will highlight the challenges facing border communities and the need for comprehensive immigration reform, as well as the need for Congress to act.”
The president’s border visit does not include the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas, where Cortez serves as the top executive of Hidalgo County.
Democratic US Rep. Vicente González, who represents the McAllen area, praised Biden for planning a trip to the border, but strongly urged him to visit South Texas as well.
“No two communities are the same and they require different approaches and resources,” he said in a statement. “We cannot continue to rely on antiquated systems from 10 or 20 years ago to solve today’s ever-evolving problems. We must continue to address problems not just at our Southern Border, but with our immigration system as a whole.”