The United States government has announced sweeping new measures to further reduce unlawful migration from the Caribbean and other places.
The US Department of State and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a statement that the measures would “significantly expand lawful pathways for protection, and facilitate the safe, orderly and humane processing of migrants.”
The statement noted that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) temporary Title 42 public health order will also come to an end on May 11 and “will return to using Title 8…to expeditiously process and remove individuals who arrive at the US border unlawfully.
“These decades-old authorities carry steep consequences for unlawful entry, including at least a five-year ban on re-entry and potential criminal prosecution for repeated attempts to enter unlawfully. The return to processing under Title 8 is expected to reduce the number of repeat border crossings over time, which increased significantly under Title 42,” the two US departments said.
They said individuals who cross into the United States at the southwest border without authorisation or having used a lawful pathway, and without having scheduled a time to arrive at a port of entry, would be presumed ineligible for asylum under a new proposed regulation.
Venezuelans, Cubans and Haitians are among many of the asylum seekers arriving in US cities such as New York, from the southern border.
Since coming to office, President Biden has continually called on the US Congress to pass legislation to update and reform what has been described as an “outdated immigration system.”
The State Department and DHS said they are taking action with the tools and resources available under current law, but noted that Congress’ failure to pass and fund the president’s plan will increase the challenge at the southwest border.
The measures announced on Thursday include imposing stiffer consequences for failing to use lawful pathways to the US.
To avoid these consequences, the departments urged individuals to use the many lawful pathways that they said the United States has expanded over the past two years.
The DHS said it is modernising existing family reunification parole processes for Cuba and Haiti and that once finalised, will allow vetted individuals with already approved family-based petitions to be paroled into the United States on a case-by-case basis.
“The US government will deliver timely and efficient authorization for those approved and vetted to travel. Individuals paroled into the US under these processes would be eligible to apply for work authorisation.”
Washington said it is committed to welcoming thousands of additional refugees monthly from the Western Hemisphere, including the Caribbean, and will continue to accept up to 30,000 individuals per month from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Haiti as part of the expanded parole processes announced earlier this year.
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