This Thursday, while the attention of the country was focused on the House of Representatives, which continues to vote to elect a new speaker, Joe Biden announced some new measures on immigration, including the expansion of Title 42, so often challenged by the Democratic Party. He also confirmed that on Sunday he will visit the city of El Paso, Texas, to supervise the area.
The new policy consists of granting 30,000 humanitarian permits per month to migrants from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Haiti who are financially sponsored by a person residing in the United States. In addition, they will be required to pass a safety investigation in order to prove they are vaccinated against covid-19 and must meet a number of other health requirements.
At the same time, the plan includes the possibility of immediately expelling all those who attempt to cross the border illegally. As part of the program, Mexico has agreed to receive up to 30,000 of these people. In these cases, Biden stated that Title 42 will be applied to automatically deport them, without granting them the possibility of applying for asylum.
Join me as I deliver remarks on border security and enforcement. https://t.co/PJwiJnefMA
— President Biden (@POTUS) January 5, 2023
"The actions we are announcing today will make things better, but they will not completely solve the border problem," Biden declared. He added: "If you are trying to leave Cuba, Nicaragua or Haiti, don't show up at the border. Stay where you are and apply legally."
Biden and his contradictions with Title 42
The change in the White House's position on this issue is primarily due to the record numbers of migrants attempting to cross the southern border over the past two years. Since his inauguration, the number of arrests jumped from 1.7 million in 2021 to nearly 2.4 million in 2022.
In light of this situation, a coalition of 19 Republican states filed a motion to retain Title 42, which was due to expire on December 24, in order to continue with the immediate expulsion of migrants. The Supreme Court decided to retain the regulation until February, when it will issue a new ruling on the matter.
Although for much of 2021 the White House sought to repeal Title 42 (reimposed by Donald Trump at the onset of the covid-19 pandemic), now Biden has announced that they will use it to carry out their new immigration program. "I don't like Title 42, but it's what we have to use," he said.
Visiting the border
In the same vein, the president confirmed that on Sunday, before traveling to Mexico City for the North American Leaders Summit, where he will meet with Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Justin Trudeau, he will make a stop in El Paso.
It will be his first time at the southern border in his two years in office, which is why he received multiple criticisms from Republicans. Biden argued his lack of attention to the issue by saying he had "more important things to do." For example, when he flew to Arizona to visit a chip company, just 300 kilometers from the crisis zone.