On Thursday, January 5, the United States announced a new plan to accept 30,000 migrants a month from Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba and Haiti combined, thus expanding a program already in place for Venezuelans. Parallel to this new measure, the United States will “immediately” expel to Mexico migrants from those countries who attempt to cross directly into US territory.
The information was offered to reporters in a special call from high-level US officials, just before President Joe Biden formally announced the change in a nationwide public address.
The measure broadens a program the US instituted for Venezuelans last October, allowing 24,000 asylum seekers to enter the country by air if they previously applied and were approved for a two-year humanitarian parole. During that same month, the US began sending back to Mexico those Venezuelans who attempted to cross the land border without permission.
This program will now be extended to Cubans, Nicaraguans, and Haitians. The two-year “humanitarian parole” will be granted to those who meet criteria and who have a sponsor in the United States, and includes permission to work legally in the US. Those accepted must enter by air, not over land borders.
In this new announcement, authorities explained that – effective immediately – those who attempt to cross the border illegally and are expelled to Mexico will be declared ineligible for the new program of humanitarian permits, as will those who enter Panama or Mexico “illegally.”
As part of the same measure, Biden announced plans to triple the number of “resettled refugees” from other parts of the continent in 2023, and to take in 20,000 people from other Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Currently expelling between 7,000 and 9,000 people daily
The authorities explained that the aim of these measures is to confront “a new migratory pattern” on the US border, where “political and economic instability all over the world is feeding the greatest migration numbers” since World War II.
In the past two years, the US has seen record numbers of migrants trying to cross into the country illegally, in magnitudes unknown for decades. These numbers are “due largely to an unprecedented new exodus of migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela,” stated one of the functionaries.
According to data supplied by those sources, during most of December 2021 daily arrests and expulsions of migrants from the US southern border fluctuated between 7,000 and 9,000, an average of 8,000 per day.
“We’re also seeing an increase in maritime migration from Cuba and Haiti, which puts the migrants in situations of great danger,” sources indicated.
Mexico agrees to collaborate
Authorities pointed out that the measure will also apply to families of the migrants, and that they can apply for the new program with Mexican collaboration.
US President Joe Biden spoke live on January 5, to officially give the details of the new program.
On Sunday, January 8, Biden plans to visit the city of El Paso, Texas, on the Mexican border. This would be the president’s first visit to the southern border since assuming power. On Monday, he will move on to the Mexican capital to participate in a trilateral summit with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
As these measures roll out, the US also announced they’d be reinforcing border security by contracting and sending out more agents to supplement the 23,000 already working in the zone.