The U.S. Department of State (State) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have recently announced a series of significant measures aimed at reshaping the landscape of immigration across the Western Hemisphere. These measures seek to reduce unlawful migration, expand lawful pathways for protection, and ensure a safe, orderly, and humane processing of migrants. In this blog post, we'll break down the key points of these sweeping changes.
The End of Title 42 Public Health Order:
One of the most notable developments is the forthcoming end of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) temporary Title 42 public health order, which was implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it's essential to clarify that the lifting of this order does not mean the U.S. border is open. After May 11, 2023, at 11:59 PM, the United States will return to using Title 8 immigration authorities to swiftly process and remove individuals who arrive at the U.S. border unlawfully. These Title 8 authorities carry severe consequences for unlawful entry, including a minimum five-year reentry ban and potential criminal prosecution for repeated unlawful attempts.
Imposing Stiffer Consequences for Unlawful Entry:
Individuals who unlawfully cross the U.S. Southwest border will now face immediate processing under Title 8 expedited removal authorities. Consequences for these individuals include:
- Expedited removal within days.
- A minimum five-year bar from reentry if ordered removed.
- Presumed ineligibility for asylum under proposed regulations (with some exceptions).
To avoid these consequences, individuals are encouraged to use the expanded lawful pathways that have been created over the past two years.
Expanded Lawful Pathways:
The United States is announcing additional lawful pathways, including:
Expanded Access to the CBPOne App: Migrants in Central and Northern Mexico will have access to the CBPOne mobile application to schedule appointments at ports of entry, promoting safe and orderly processing.
New Family Reunification Parole Processes: DHS is creating new parole processes for El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Colombia, allowing vetted individuals with approved family-based petitions to enter the United States on a case-by-case basis and apply for work authorization.
Doubling the Number of Refugees: The U.S. is committed to welcoming thousands of additional refugees per month from the Western Hemisphere, doubling the number from previous commitments.
Continued Parole Programs: The U.S. will continue to accept individuals from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Haiti under expanded parole programs.
These measures will be implemented in close coordination with regional partners, including the governments of Mexico, Canada, Spain, Colombia, and Guatemala. The U.S. is also establishing Regional Processing Centers (RPCs) in key locations throughout the Western Hemisphere to reduce irregular migration and facilitate lawful pathways.
Congressional Action Needed:
While these measures are significant, they do not replace the need for congressional action. The Biden administration has repeatedly called on Congress to pass immigration reforms and allocate resources to address the challenges at the border.
Managing Migration Flows:
The Biden-Harris Administration views migration as a regional challenge and is working with partners across the Western Hemisphere to address root causes, expand lawful pathways, and strengthen enforcement.
These sweeping changes in U.S. immigration policies aim to strike a balance between facilitating lawful immigration pathways and deterring unlawful entry. They are designed to ensure a safe, orderly, and humane processing of migrants while acknowledging the need for congressional action to fully address the complex challenges of regional migration. The upcoming months will be critical in implementing these measures and managing the transition as the Title 42 public health order is lifted.