The White House has rolled out an updated immigration policy, unveiling plans to strengthen rules developed under the Donald Trump administration to quickly deport migrants who attempt to enter the country through the border with Mexico.
President Joe Biden outlined the new policy in a speech on Thursday morning, imploring migrants not to come to the US without following the proper procedures while stressing the need for a ”safe and orderly process.”
“My message is this: If you’re trying to leave Cuba, Nicaragua, or Haiti… do not just show up at the border. Stay where you are and apply legally from there,” he said, vowing to “stiffen enforcement for those who try to come without a legal right to stay.”
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) later explained that border agencies will expand their use of Title 8 deportations as the Biden administration seeks to phase out separate authorities under Title 42, which were first invoked by Trump in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The new rules will allow the government to expel anyone entering the US who does not claim asylum for fear of being seriously harmed, with DHS saying it would enhance ”expedited removal under Title 8 authorities for those who cannot be processed under the Title 42 public health order.” Migrants expelled under Title 8 will be forbidden from entering the US for a period of five years.
“Individuals without a legal basis to remain in the United States will be subject to prompt expulsion or removal,” DHS chief Alejandro Mayorkas said.
The White House will also allocate additional resources for ”personnel, transportation, and facilities” to help remove anyone who is in the US illegally, and work to improve coordination between Homeland, the Department of Justice and the State Department. Moreover, the DHS said it would roll out a mobile app allowing asylum-seekers to apply before arriving at an American port of entry, hoping to “discourage noncitizens from congregating near the border in unsafe conditions.“
The Biden plan requires migrants who pass through a third country to apply for asylum in that country and not in the United States. A similar policy under Trump – known as the “Remain in Mexico” rule – was condemned as illegal and xenophobic by critics. On the 2020 campaign trail, Biden attacked Trump’s border policies as harmful to desperate migrants, saying he “slammed the door shut in the face of families fleeing persecution and violence.” The then-candidate pledged to “eliminate President Trump’s decision to limit asylum” on “day one“ of his administration.
Donald Trump has slammed the door shut in the face of families fleeing persecution and violence. On day one, I will eliminate President Trump’s decision to limit asylum and end the MPP program. #RestoreAsylumNOW https://t.co/3KLjtwEtNE
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 30, 2020
During Thursday’s speech, Biden said most migrants arriving at America’s southern border are coming from Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Haiti, suggesting internal problems in those countries were to blame for the massive uptick in immigration to the US. However, Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua are each subject to heavy US sanctions, exacerbating their economic troubles and, in some cases, preventing imports of certain key goods. Haiti, meanwhile, has descended into chaos over the last 18 months in the wake of the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, seeing intermittent clashes between armed gangs and government forces. While the US pushed for politician Ariel Henry to assume power in Port au Prince, the ‘interim’ leader has failed to control rampant gang violence and has been accused of being involved in Moïse’s murder.