The Biden administration He announced moves this week to address an increase in Venezuelan immigration across the southern border, but the combination of expanded Section 42 expulsions and a new humanitarian parole pathway vexed lawmakers and activists from both the right and the left.
The Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday It is in the process of launching a new, large-scale border enforcement operation with Mexico coupled with expanded removals of Venezuelan nationals.
The campaign will see Mexico and the United States increase immigration checkpoints, cooperate in targeting human smuggling, and increase resources and law enforcement personnel.
But crucially, this cooperation also means that all Venezuelans who enter the United States illegally will now be returned to Mexico under Public Health Act 42. The Venezuelans were not returned under the order due to the lack of diplomatic relations with Venezuela and Mexico’s refusal to receive them.
At the same time, the administration is launching a new parole program to provide a legal pathway for Venezuelan citizens to travel to the United States. Pass biometric and other security checks and complete public health requirements including vaccinations. It is similar to a program announced earlier in the year for Qualified Ukrainians. Citizens will not be eligible for the program if they were previously deported or transited into the United States or Mexico illegally.
These actions come as the administration continues to grapple with a historic border crisis of more than 2.1 million encounters this fiscal year alone — including the recent surge in the number of citizens from Venezuela.
There was more than 25,000 meetings for Venezuelan immigrants In August, up from just 4,000 in April. In August last year, there were just over 6,000 immigrants from Venezuela. This increased political pressure on the administration, as the governors of Texas, Arizona, and Florida moved immigrants north—many of them Venezuelans.
Management has sought to present procedures as prioritizing legal entry and discouraging illegal entry.
“These actions demonstrate that there is a legal and regulated way for Venezuelans to enter the United States, and legal entry is the only way.” home security Minister Alejandro Mallorcas said in a statement. “Those who attempt to cross the southern border of the United States illegally will be returned to Mexico and will be ineligible for this process in the future. Those who follow the legal process will have the opportunity to travel safely to the United States and become eligible to work here.”
But the program saw a mixed reception from the left and the right. Senator Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, praised the administration’s legal path, but hit the administration hard for expanding Title 42 — a move he described as “unforgivable.”
“Expanding Section 42 to now include Venezuelans adds salt to the open wound while further eroding our asylum system that President Biden has promised to restore,” he said in a statement.
He called on the administration to reconsider the expulsion, remove some of the restrictions on the parole program, and continue to seek an end to Title 42 in the courts as it has been doing.
Meanwhile, immigration activists were similarly upset with the policy. Mourad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, accused the administration of “putting an end to our humanitarian obligations.”
“By bowing to the cruel whims of the Republican governors of Texas, Arizona and Florida as this country prepares for its midterm elections, the Biden administration has taken several steps back in time with Donald Trump’s harsh immigration policies,” he said in a statement. .
Dozens of NGOs, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Human Rights Watch, RAICES and the Southern Poverty Law Center, wrote to Mallorcas expressing “deep disappointment and shock” at the announcement of the Title 42 expansion.
“While we welcome steps to provide safe procedures for some Venezuelans, the creation of safe corridors should never be used to deny asylum to other people seeking protection,” they wrote in a letter. “We are also concerned that the announcement refers to the attempt to enter Venezuelans on the southern border as an illegal attempt,” he added.
Meanwhile, the ad was not well received by the Republicans and right-wing groups either.
A member of the House Homeland Security Committee, John Katko, called the move a “cynical and inadequate attempt” to address “the unprecedented crisis on the southwest frontier over which this administration has completely lost control.”
“With the state’s midterm elections approaching, the Biden administration sees the writing on the wall and is just trying to put a medical bandage on the border that bleeds to save face,” the Republican said in a statement.
Describing it as a “public relations stunt”, he said the policy was also “ready for abuse and likely to contribute to migrants providing inaccurate information about their country of origin as they attempt to enter the interior of the country”.
Meanwhile, hard-line immigration groups remained unaffected. “If Venezuelans can be sent back to Mexico – why can’t all immigrants, regardless of country of origin?” RJ Hauman, president of government relations and communications for the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR), told Fox News Digital on Wednesday.
However, the new policy has won some praise from Democrats. In New York, where You overwhelmed the officials With migrants streaming north via buses and other modes of transportation, he said the move would stem the flow of people.
“While details are still emerging, this federal action is a short-term step to address this humanitarian crisis and to manage the flow of border crossings in a humane manner,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement, while saying that a “proactive and long-term strategy is still required.” from Congress.
“We are grateful to President Biden and his administration for our ongoing dialogue to address this humanitarian crisis and look forward to continuing to work closely with them moving forward,” he said.
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