US restricts migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua and Haiti – DW (English)

The new policy represents a major change to US immigration rules, with President Joe Biden telling migrants: "Do not just show up at the border."
President Joe Biden’s administration said it would immediately begin turning away Haitians, Cubans and Nicaraguans who enter the United States illegally, outlining the new policy on Thursday.
The plans are a major expansion of current immigration rules, and the hardest measures yet taken by the Biden administration to address arrivals at the southern border with Mexico.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) outlined the new policy, saying it would expand on current curbs for Venezuelans.
The new rules for Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans seek to offer “safe, orderly and lawful pathways to the United States, including authorization to work,” the department said in a statement.
Under the plans, up to 30,000 qualifying migrants in total from those four countries would be permitted to reside in the Uniteds States for up to two years and get permission to work in the country — provided they do not attempt to enter the US illegally. 
It also outlined “significant consequences for those who fail to use those pathways.”
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“Nationals from Venezuela, Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua who do not avail themselves of this process, attempt to enter the United States without authorization, and cannot establish a legal basis to remain will be removed or returned to Mexico,” the department said in a statement.
The new immigration policy is also dependent on the Mexican government’s “willingness to accept the return or removal of nationals” from those four countries.
Since the implementation of the policy for Venezuelans, which was launched in October, DHS said arrivals for Venezuelans dropped by 90%.
In addition to the new policy, the US plans to provide additional funds to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.
The United States has flagged $23 million (€21.8 million) in aid to “assist migrants with emergencies and to foster their local integration,” Ken Salazar, the US ambassador to Mexico, wrote in a post on Twitter.
He added that the United States plans to expand refugee admissions in Latin America “for those experiencing persecution.”
Biden said the US immigration system was “broken” and the new rules would provide a safer option to ease the crowded arrivals at the border.
“This new process is orderly, it’s safe, and it’s humane,” he said.
In a message to would-be migrants from Nicaragua, Haiti and Cuba who do not have a US sponsor, Biden said: “Do not just show up at the border.”
Biden has faced increasing pressure to address the humanitarian and political issue at the border with Mexico.
“These actions alone are not going to fix our entire immigration system,” Biden said, but they could “help a good deal.”
The US president is set to travel to El Paso, Texas, to visit the border with Mexico this weekend. He is also due to hold talks with his Mexican counterpart, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau next week.
Though the new policy would allow for up to 360,000 people per year from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela to enter the US, the number of arrivals currently outpaces that figure.
US Border Patrol officers stopped migrants from the four countries more than 82,200 times in November alone, The Associated Press reported.
Regardless of how the border is crossed, people entering the United States are permitted to claim asylum, but only 30% of applications are granted.
There is currently a backlog of more than 2 million cases in immigration courts, meaning that people who apply for asylum often wait years for their cases to be heard.
The Biden administration has also been reluctant to take harsher measures like those adopted under his predecessor, Donald Trump.
During Trump’s administration, the US required asylum-seekers to wait across the border in Mexico — resulting in dangerous and crowded conditions in the camps.
rs/aw (AP, Reuters, AFP)


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