Recent unpublished government data obtained by CBS News shows a significant decrease in the number of unauthorized migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in June, following the enactment of stricter asylum rules. Border Patrol agents apprehended just over 100,000 migrants who entered the U.S. illegally along the southern border, a sharp drop from the 169,000 apprehensions reported in May. However, it’s important to note that the number of unlawful border entries remains high compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Enforcement Is Part Of The Biden Policy
Still, the administration has buckled down on enforcement measures, increased deportations, and tightened asylum rules for migrants who do not utilize these programs. A regulation enacted in May disqualifies migrants from asylum if they enter the U.S. illegally without seeking humanitarian protection in another country first. Those unable to prove they merit an exemption to the rule may face deportation and a five-year ban on reentering the country.
Parole Programs At Work
Part of the explanation for the success in reducing the tide of immigrants arriving at the U.S. southern border has been the introduction of a number of new parole-related programs for immigrants. For example, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently introduced a Family Consolidation Probation (FRP) program for citizens of Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The program aims to protect family members living abroad who have relatives who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.
Early Travel Authorization Is The Key
Once invited, petitioners can submit an application for early travel authorization and probation consideration for the beneficiary and eligible family members. The new procedure allows temporary discretionary parole on a case-by-case basis if there are urgent humanitarian reasons or a serious public interest is demonstrated, and the beneficiary justifies the exercise of immigration officer discretionary powers in good faith. Individuals paroled into the United States under these procedures are generally placed on probation for up to three years and may apply for a work permit while awaiting their immigration visa. They can then apply for legal permanent residency once their immigrant visa is available.
The FRP process, which promotes family unity, is part of a broader response announced by DHS and the State Department in April of this year. Now that this program has been introduced, migrants from Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras who cross the U.S.-Mexico border without permission or are intercepted at sea on their way to the United States after July 10 are not eligible for the program and therefore the most likely way to enter the U.S.
Government data suggests that over 70,000 individuals could qualify for the program immediately. As of late May, there were significant numbers of Colombians, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Hondurans waiting in the family-based immigrant visa backlog with approved petitions. Nonetheless, officials expect that not all of these migrants will be invited to participate in the program.
Other Parole Programs In The Mix
President Biden’s administration has also revived two parole programs for Cubans and Haitians with U.S. relatives that were previously implemented during the Obama and Bush eras. In addition, the parole authority has been used to admit thousands of Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans each month, as well as process tens of thousands of asylum seekers in Mexico who have appointments to enter the U.S. through a government app.
One-To-One Support Makes The Difference
What is significant about these programs is that they are based on support from inside the United States that enables foreign immigrants to come to America. Linking immigrants to supporting relatives is the key. There is also more emphasis on broader humanitarian considerations as opposed to the more legalistic reliance on just refugee concepts. But also they appear to be helping to bring more order into the process of dealing with migrants at the southern border.
It’s the best the Biden Administration can do until Congress takes up immigration reform.
Source : FORBES