WASHINGTON (AP) — Two years ago, candidate Joe Biden loudly condemned President Donald Trump for immigration policies that caused “cruelty and exclusion at every turn,” including against those fleeing the “cruel” government of socialist Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.
Now with increasing number of Venezuelans Arriving at the US-Mexico border as the November 8 election approaches, Biden has turned to an unlikely source for a solution: his predecessor’s playbook.
Biden last week called a Rule from the Trump era known as title 42 – which belongs to Biden Justice fights in court – to deny Venezuelans fleeing their crisis-torn country the chance to apply for asylum at the border.
The rule, first invoked by Trump in 2020, uses the emergency public health agency to enable the United States to prevent migrants from seeking asylum at the border, based on the need to stop the spread of COVID -19 to help prevent.
Under the new policy of the Biden administration, Venezuelans walking or swimming across America’s southern border will be deported, and any Venezuelan illegally entering Mexico or Panama will be ineligible to enter the United States. As many as 24,000 Venezuelans will be accepted at US airports, similar to how Ukrainians have been admitted since the Russian invasion in February.
Mexico has insisted that the US allow one Venezuelan on humanitarian parole for every Venezuelan it expels to Mexico, according to a Mexican official who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. So if the Biden administration entices 24,000 Venezuelans to the US, Mexico would not expel more than 24,000 Venezuelans from the US
Biden’s policy marks an abrupt turn for the White Housewhich was only a few weeks ago lambs Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, both Republicans, for taking Venezuelan migrants “fleeing political persecution” on buses and planes to Democratic strongholds.
“These were children, they were mothers, they were fleeing communism,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at the time.
Biden’s new policy has drawn swift criticism from immigrant advocates, many of whom are quick to point to the Trump parallels.
“Instead of restoring the right to asylum that had been decimated by the Trump administration, the Biden administration has dangerously embraced and expanded upon past failures by explicitly allowing the expulsion of Venezuelan migrants,” said Jennifer Nagda, policy director at the United Nations. Young Center. for the rights of migrant children.
Government says policy is aimed at ensuring a “lawful and orderly” way for Venezuelans to enter the US
For more than a year after taking office in January 2021, Biden deferred to the Center for Disease Control and Preventionwho used his authority to uphold the Trump-era statement that there was a public health risk that warranted an accelerated deportation of asylum seekers.
Members of Biden’s own party and activist groups had expressed skepticism about the public health underpinnings for Title 42 to remain in effect, especially as COVID-19 spread more widely within the US than elsewhere.
After months of internal consultation and preparations, the CDC on April 1 said it would end public health order and return to normal border processing of migrants, giving them the opportunity to apply for asylum in the US
Homeland Security officials are bracing for a resulting increase in border crossings.
But officials inside and outside the White House have been conflicted over ending the authority, believing it effectively limited the number of people crossing the border illegally, according to senior government officials.
A court order in May who held title 42 in place due to a challenge from Republican state officials was greeted with quiet relief by some in the administration, according to officials who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss internal discussions.
The recent surge in migration from Venezuela, fueled by political, social and economic instability in the country, dashed officials’ hopes that they would finally end the chaos that had defined the border region for the past year.
In August, Venezuelans were the second largest nationality to arrive at the US border after Mexicans. As US tensions with Venezuela meant that migrants could not be easily returned from the country, the situation became increasingly difficult to manage.
So a administration that had rejected many Trump-era policies to keep migrants out, worked to make the asylum process easier, and increased the number of refugees allowed to enter the US, now turned to Title 42.
It brokered a deal to send Venezuelans to Mexico, which had already agreed to accept migrants expelled under Title 42 if they come from Guatemala, Honduras or El Salvador.
All the while, Justice Department attorneys continue to appeal a court decision that kept Title 42 in place. They are opposing Republican attorneys general from more than 20 states who have argued that Title 42 is “the only safety valve to prevent this administration’s already disastrous border control policy from falling into outright catastrophe.”
Under Title 42, migrants have been expelled from the US more than 2.3 million times after illegally crossing the country’s land borders from Canada or Mexico, though most are trying to get through Mexico.
The government had announced it would stop deporting Title 42 migrants from May 23 and go back to detaining and deporting migrants who were ineligible to enter and remain in the US — a longer process that migrants can apply for asylum in the US
“We are extremely disturbed by the apparent acceptance, codification and expansion of the use of Title 42, an irrelevant health order, as a cornerstone of border policy,” said Thomas Cartwright of Witness at the Border. “One that abolishes the legal right to asylum.”
A separate lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union is also seeking an end to Title 42, an effort that could render the government’s proposal useless.
“People have the right to apply for asylum no matter where they come from, how they arrive in the United States, and whether they have relatives here or not,” said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt.
Long reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego contributed to this report.
Follow AP’s coverage on immigration at: https://apnews.com/hub/immigration
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