TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO – U.S. officials announced Thursday, January 5, that 30,000 migrants a month from Cuba 🇨🇺, Haiti 🇭🇹, Nicaragua 🇳🇮, and Venezuela 🇻🇪 would be accepted, thus expanding a program already in place for Venezuelans.
Furthermore, the United States will “immediately” expel migrants from these countries who attempt to cross directly into its territory to Mexico.
In a special call to reporters, high-level US officials announced the change before President Joe Biden formally announced it in a nationwide address.
This measure expands a program that allowed 24,000 asylum seekers to enter the country by air last October if they had previously applied for and been approved for a two-year humanitarian parole. Venezuelans who tried to cross the land border without permission were sent back to Mexico that same month.
Cubans, Nicaraguans, and Haitians will now be able to participate in this program. In addition to permission to work legally in the United States, the two-year “humanitarian parole” will be granted to those who meet criteria and have sponsors in the United States. Accepted applicants must enter by air, not by land.
The authorities explained that – effective immediately – illegal border crossers who are expelled to Mexico, as well as those who enter Panama or Mexico illegally, will not be eligible for the new humanitarian permit program.
According to Biden, this measure will triple the number of “resettled refugees” from other parts of the continent in 2023, and take in 20,000 people from other Latin American and Caribbean countries.
Approximately 7,000-9,000 people are currently being expelled daily
Authorities explained that the measures are designed to confront a “new migratory pattern” on the US border, where “political and economic instability around the world feeds the highest migration numbers since World War II.”
In the past two years, the number of migrants crossing illegally into the US has reached unprecedented levels. According to one of the officials, the increase is largely due to a new wave of migrants leaving Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.
A daily average of 8,000 migrants were arrested and expelled from the US southern border during most of December 2021, according to those sources.
“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
Families of migrants will also be able to apply for the new program with Mexican collaboration, according to the authorities.
The details of the new program were officially announced by U.S. President Joe Biden on January 5.
A visit by Biden to El Paso, Texas, on the Mexican border, is planned for Sunday, January 8. Since taking office, this would be the president’s first visit to the southern border. He will attend a trilateral summit with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Mexican capital on Monday.
Additionally, the US announced it would be hiring and sending out more agents to augment the 23,000 already working in the region to enhance border security.