The Biden administration on Friday unveiled its plans to address the tens of thousands of migrants camped on the southern border as it seeks to replace the Trump administration’s “stay in Mexico” policy.
Old President TrumpDonald TrumpNevada County plans to count all ballots by hand Omarosa hit with K penalty for financial non-reportingBiden’s policy, implemented in 2019, blocked migrants at the Mexican border from entering the United States to seek asylum, leaving what the Biden administration estimates is around 25,000 people awaiting their fate in Mexico .
In what the administration considered the first phase of its plan, the United States will begin processing up to 300 people a day at three different undisclosed ports of entry beginning February 19.
“It’s an important part of President BidenJoe BidenUngar-Sargon: Working class hardest hit by inflation Nevada County plans to count all ballots by hand Biden announces military B aid to Ukraine: report MOREcommitment to restore humane and orderly treatment at the border. And that means we have to start an asylum procedure and allow people to access the asylum procedure in the United States for people who have been held up in Mexico for too long and have not been able to continue their case. a senior administration official said in a call with reporters.
The United States will start by processing those who have already signed up for Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program, who must then coordinate with a future international organization that will help coordinate housing and test migrants for the COVID-19. Only people who test negative will be allowed to enter.
Administration officials said they would “start small” to ensure the system works and that migrants can “be processed in a timely manner with respect for public health in the midst of a pandemic.”
But the plan was accompanied by strict warnings that people should not head for the border, while those registered with the MPP should wait for more specific instructions.
“We are beginning this movement within 30 days of inauguration to demonstrate our commitment to a legal path to migration,” an administration official said, noting that the Biden team has begun formulating the plan. during the transition.
“But it doesn’t change the status at the border and people shouldn’t assume that now they can come to the border and be part of this process,” the official said.
Organizing the process will require an incredible amount of outreach, both to communicate who is eligible and to ensure they register with the international organization.
“To some extent, we rely on people to come to us,” an official said.
The Biden administration inherited a complex situation at the border. Those officially enrolled in the MPP are joined by those who have arrived at the border to be hit by a “counting” practice put in place by the Trump administration that caps the number of people who can apply for asylum each day. The previous administration also implemented deportations that used the coronavirus pandemic as a way to keep non-citizens away.
“The Trump administration has been very good at creating multi-level barriers,” said Jorge Loweree, policy director at the American Immigration Council, adding that the previous administration “did not implement any meaningful means of follow people or communicate directly with them” when it was created. the MPP program.
“Cancelling the MPP is a critical step, but there is still a lot of work to be done at the border to begin to reestablish the United States’ position as a beacon of hope where people can seek protection from persecution. in a significative way.”
Once asylum seekers cross the border, they will be placed in “alternative detention programs,” though the administration is still formulating precisely what that will look like.
Such a program could include ankle monitors, though officials said they are considering a variety of options, with the aim of allowing asylum seekers to have their cases transferred to any appropriate court for the trial. where they are heading.
“These individuals will be brought in. We will know what their final destination in the United States is. They will be placed in alternative detention programs so that we can track the individuals,” the official said. “So what [their case] will be in the immigration court system housed at the Department of Justice, and their cases will be handled accordingly.
Republicans say those entering the United States will face a huge backlog of immigration applications and fear Biden’s policies will encourage more migrants to come here.
“Those who are retired south of our border by international organizations, who will determine their eligibility, will soon be released into American communities as they are added to the backlog of more than a million people before the court. of immigration. Judgment will take years. As more migrants hear of the re-enforcement of catch-and-release, the push to our border will be unimaginable,” the House Homeland Security ranking member said. John KatkoJohn Michael KatkoOvernight Defense & National Security — Ukraine holds back as Russian frustration grows Republicans have no right to remain silent Don’t let China use the Olympics to further obscure its true intentions MORE (RN.Y.) said in a statement.
Loweree said it is conditions in the country of origin, not immigration policies, that drive migration and cautioned against any use of traditional detention centers for incoming asylum seekers, noting that the Detention is generally used when immigration officials doubt that someone will show up for their hearings.
“It’s hard to imagine anyone living in a makeshift refugee camp if there wasn’t a lot of truth to what they say about their inability to live in their home country,” he said. he declared.
Updated at 12:36 p.m.