Bloomberg Línea — The US departments of State and Homeland Security (DHS) announced Thursday new measures intended to further reduce illegal migration throughout the Western Hemisphere following the end of Title 42, a measure that was invoked during the Covid-19 pandemic.
At a press conference, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Secretary of State Antony Blinken explained the plan to address the expected flood of immigrants at the border following the end to Title 42 on May 11.
As of that date, authorities will implement Title 8, the measure that has in the past has been used to regulate immigration, and which carries additional consequences for illegal migration, including a re-entry ban of at least five years and possible criminal prosecution for repeated attempts to enter illegally.
In a statement, the US government said that the return to Title 8 processing is expected to reduce the number of repeat border crossings over time.
Individuals who cross into the United States over the southern border without authorization or having used a legal pathway, and without having scheduled a time to arrive at a port of entry, would be presumed ineligible for asylum under a proposed new regulation, in the absence of an applicable exception, they explained.
The announced measures will be implemented in close coordination with regional partners, including the governments of Mexico, Canada, Spain, Colombia and Guatemala, and build on the success of recent processes that have significantly reduced illegal border crossings through a combination of expanded legal channels and the rapid removal of those who do not use those legal channels.
The new measures
The US has announced new legal avenues for entry into the country, such as expanded access to the CBPOne application to appear at a US port of entry.
When the Title 42 order is lifted, migrants located in central and northern Mexico will have access to the CBPOne mobile app to schedule an appointment to appear at a port of entry instead of trying to enter between ports.
The new measures also include a family reunification parole processes for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Colombia.
The agency is also modernizing existing family reunification parole processes for Cuba and Haiti. These processes, once finalized, will allow vetted individuals with already approved family-based petitions to be paroled into the US on a case-by-case basis.
The US government says it will provide timely and efficient clearance for those approved and vetted for travel. Persons paroled into the US under these processes would be eligible to apply for work authorization.
The new measures also aim to double the number of refugees from the Western Hemisphere.
The United States will commit to welcoming thousands of additional refugees per month from the Western Hemisphere, with the goal of doubling the number of refugees the United States is committed to receiving as part of the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection.
To achieve this goal, Washington aims to further increase resources and staffing for the US Refugee Admissions Program in this region.
In addition, the US will continue to accept up to 30,000 individuals per month from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Haiti as part of the expanded parole processes announced earlier this year.
Migrant processing centers in Colombia and Guatemala
The US government also announced that it will open regional processing centers throughout the Western Hemisphere to facilitate access to legal channels.
In a historic move, the United States, along with other countries of the Los Angeles Declaration, announced that it will establish Regional Processing Centers (RPCs) in key locations throughout the Western Hemisphere to reduce irregular migration and facilitate safe, orderly, humane and legal pathways from the Americas.
The first centers will be established in several countries, including Colombia and Guatemala. People in the region will be able to make an appointment on their phone to visit the nearest RPC before traveling, receive an interview with immigration specialists and, if eligible, be processed quickly for legal pathways to the United States, Canada and Spain.
The US will also launch an anti-smuggling campaign targeting criminal networks in the Darién Gap between Colombia and Panama, increase removals of migrants who cross the US border without authorization and without a legal basis to stay, and combat smugglers’ misinformation.