On January 5, 2023, the United States, under the Biden administration, announced a new “border enforcement” policy.
While pressing on the new rules, which aim to reduce an upswing in border arrivals, Biden told reporters from the White House: “If you are trying to leave Cuba, Nicaragua, or Haiti… do not just show up at the border. Stay where you are and apply legally from there.”
As per the reports, the reforms would deny migrants the chance to seek asylum in the US if they crossed the border from Mexico to the US without permission. However, they could come legally if they meet specific requirements, including finding a sponsor and demonstrating that they can afford plane tickets.
According to the new border enforcement plan, the US would accept as many as 30,000 people per month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. In addition, it would give them a two-year authorization while expelling those who arrive at the border unlawfully.
Democratic lawmakers like Senator Bob Menendez have criticized the expansion of the policy, which he termed “a disastrous and inhumane relic of the Trump administration’s racist immigration agenda.” (Reuters)
Furthermore, UNHCR, despite welcoming the safe and regular pathways for entry into the United States.
Yet expressed concern over expanding the widely criticized COVID pandemic emergency “Title 42” health restriction orders that would expel Cubans, Haitians, and Nicaraguans to Mexico without taking into account the risks and hardships they would face.
— UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) January 6, 2023
While the policy assumes that arriving at the border is simply an illegal or unlawful practice.
“What we are emphasizing is that this is not in accordance with refugee law standards and that to establish a link between safe and legal pathways, which have been announced, and of course, we welcome the expansion of those on one side that are accessible for some people with curtailment of the right to seek asylum for many more who are ineligible for these pathways,” UNHCR spokesperson Boris Cheshirkov said, emphasizing that seeking asylum is a fundamental human right. (UN News)