On Thursday, January 5th, President Biden announced that he would be expanding a program to allow entry to up to 30,000 migrants per month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. The President also announced he would be putting measures in place to expel as many migrants as possible, from those countries, for circumventing United States laws.
Migrants who desire to travel and live in the U.S. should apply while still in their home countries. Applicants should have a U.S. sponsor and may apply through a phone app. If approved, an applicant may fly to the U.S. Initially, the program only applied to Venezuelans as they were crossing the border into the U.S. in large numbers. The additional countries in the expanded program will reduce the number of migrants arriving in the U.S.
President Biden called the expanded program orderly, safe, and humane. “These actions alone that I’m going to announce today aren’t going to fix our entire immigration system, but they can help us a good deal in better managing what is a difficult challenge,” he said.
President Biden’s Advice? Stay
“My message is this: If you’re trying to leave Cuba, Nicaragua, or Haiti, have agreed to begin a journey to America, do not – do not – just show up at the border,” Biden said. “Stay where you are and apply legally. Starting today, if you don’t apply through the legal process, you will not be eligible for this new parole program.”
Immigrant advocates did not see the good in a program that might leave people stranded in Mexico and block migrants without a U.S. connection from entering the country. “Opening up new limited pathways for a small percentage of people does not obscure the fact that the Biden administration is illegally and immorally gutting access to humanitarian protections for the majority of people who have already fled their country seeking freedom and safety,” International Refugee Assistance Project Policy Director Sunil Varghese said in a statement.
Mayor Adams Responds to President Biden
The movement of asylum-seeking migrants into the U.S. has caused crises in specific cities that operate under Democratic administrations. New York City is one of the cities that has endured the brunt of the arrival of thousands of immigrants. Mayor Eric Adams released a statement after President Biden’s announcement.
“For months, New Yorkers have seen an influx of asylum seekers from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, and every day since, we have far surpassed our moral and legal mandates to serve the more than 36,400 asylum seekers who have arrived here. We have, largely on our own, provided shelter, clothes, food, education, health care, legal support, and a host of other services to asylum seekers — more than any other city in this country. But, as we have said for months, we cannot continue to maintain this flow,” Adams said.
“President Biden’s announcement today to expand the humanitarian program to allow more asylum seekers to travel to the United States safely, legally, and in a more controlled manner, is an important, positive step in ensuring our federal partners can better address this humanitarian crisis. We appreciate this administration’s partnership and response to our request for action, and we are hopeful this policy will help better control the flow of asylum seekers arriving at the southern border. At the same time, we still need a long-term and proactive strategy to manage the crisis we are seeing.
Mayor Adams’ Suggestions
This must include legislation that will allow asylum seekers to legally work while waiting on their asylum applications, a true decompression strategy and resettlement program that ensures asylum seekers are being spread out across the nation and not just sent to a handful of cities, and emergency financial relief for our city. Finally, we ultimately need a bipartisan effort to deliver true, long-awaited immigration reform so we can offer people a safe, legal path to the American dream. We know the members of our state’s delegation in Washington, D.C., are willing to lead these efforts and, indeed, many have been immigration reform champions for decades.”