United States: Biden agrees with Mexico on a new immigration policy for Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Haiti | International

Irregular immigration to the United States, which broke records last year, has become one of the flanks on which the conservative opposition has attacked the president, Joe Biden, with the most force. The Republicans assure that the country is suffering “an invasion” and want to politically prosecute the Secretary of National Security, Alejandro Mayorkas. Biden has decided this Thursday to take new measures to strengthen control of the border with Mexico and in exchange he promises to offer new channels of legal immigration, especially to people who can demonstrate ties or roots with the country and who come from Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Haiti. , as advanced by senior government officials. The president has announced that he will travel to El Paso (Texas) this Sunday, in his first visit to the border since he has been in office.

Biden made the announcement on Thursday, days before he is due to travel to Mexico City, where he will meet on Monday and Tuesday with his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The meeting of North American leaders will touch on issues such as the climate crisis and economic development, but, according to Biden himself, the agenda will be focused on “strengthening” the border with Mexico. The president will evaluate in El Paso (Texas) the operations of detention and border control in a region that declared an emergency due to the increasing arrival of South American immigrants at the end of December. “I know very well that migration is raising the tension in border communities,” Biden said from the White House.

The Government assures that the new package of measures is unprecedented. One of the star initiatives is the extension of the process that allows people residing in the United States to request on behalf of a Venezuelan citizen to enter the country if they demonstrate that they have the means of livelihood or the local support necessary to survive. This measure is now extended to nationals of Nicaragua, Haiti and Cuba. “Up to 30,000 people a month from these four countries, who have a sponsor who meets the requirements and pass background checks, will be able to come to the United States for a period of two years and receive authorization to work,” government sources say. Those who take advantage of this program will undergo a background investigation and must be vaccinated.

Biden has explained that this request must be initiated outside the United States and followed through an application from the Office of Customs and Border Control (CBP, for its acronym in English). One of the conditions is that the foreign citizens who initiate the process do not cross the border illegally. “If the petition is denied or they attempt to cross illegally, they will be returned to Mexico and will not be eligible for this program in the future,” he said. Mexico has accepted the return of up to 30,000 people a month from these four countries. This punishment is also extensible for those who cross the borders of Panama and Mexico illegally. “The message is clear. People should stay where they are and start the process there”, added Mayorkas.

The Secretary of Homeland Security has revealed the keys to the Biden Administration’s immigration policy when Title 42 is lifted, the health measure imposed by former President Donald Trump during the pandemic that allows immigrants to be quickly expelled. The minister has said that requests for humanitarian asylum must be processed in an application and an appointment must be made in advance to appear at customs. “Those who use this process may be eligible for work permits while in the US,” he says. In addition, the Government plans to host up to 20,000 refugees from Latin American and Caribbean countries during fiscal years 2023 and 2024.

Mayorkas has assured that to reduce the flow of immigrants that arrives at the border with Mexico, the punishments will be tougher. Those who arrive without complying with the processes or cannot defend their asylum requests will be expelled “quickly” and will be prohibited from entering the United States for five years.

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The US announcement has been welcomed by Mexico, which believes that the humanitarian permit program for Venezuelans has worked well, as daily irregular crossings have decreased by 94% since it was launched last October. They went from more than 1,500 to less than 100. The Mexican Foreign Ministry assures that Washington’s announcement will allow an unprecedented injection of labor into the region. “This will represent a total of 360,000 people during 2023, the largest expansion in terms of labor mobility in the modern history of the United States,” Foreign Relations said in a statement.

Title 42

Despite being a legacy from Trump, Biden has been forced to resort to Title 42 to ease the border. His Administration has tried to repeal it without success. “I don’t like Title 42, it will go away one day and we will have to use other measures,” the president said. In a recent decision, the Supreme Court has decided to keep it in force. The president ventured that the measure may be in force until June. His visit to El Paso will be focused on understanding the dynamics that Title 42 will have on the 3,000-kilometer border in the coming months.

High officials of the Biden Government assure that all these measures will serve to increase security at the border and reduce the number of people who cross illegally, while expanding and expediting legal channels for orderly migration.

The Administration will increase resources for the border and is expanding its anti-smuggling operations. “It is important to note that the measures announced today are being implemented in close collaboration with Mexico and governments throughout the Western Hemisphere. Although these measures will help solve some of the most serious problems on the southwest border, they will not solve all the problems of an immigration system that has not worked for too long, “say senior government officials, who counterattack Republican criticism: “That just it can happen if congressional Republicans, who have spent the past two years talking about border security, stop blocking the comprehensive immigration reform and border security measures that President Biden proposed on his first day in office, and to oppose the billions of dollars in additional funding that the president has requested for security and border management.” “Unlike some Republicans who play political games and obstruct real solutions to fix our broken immigration system, President Biden has a plan and is taking action,” they add.

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