Biden Administration Announces New Border Crackdown

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While still pledging to end the measure, the administration extended it to cover migrants from more countries. In early January, it unveiled a plan to use it to turn back a new flood of crossers from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela, while simultaneously establishing a program that enabled nationals of those countries to apply for parole to enter the United States from their countries of origin if they had a financial sponsor.

Since that program’s inception, overall unlawful crossings have plummeted by 97 percent. On the call with reporters on Tuesday, administration officials said that the decline proved that pairing a humanitarian program with punitive measures that have consequences for illegal crossers was effective.

In its proposed rule, the administration said that projections suggested that lifting Title 42 could lead to an increase in border crossings to 13,000 encounters per day, from last year’s high of about 7,000 per day, absent policy changes and a mechanism to quickly remove those who arrive without authorization.

It cited the growing impact of climate change on migration, political instability in several countries, the evolving recovery from the pandemic, and uncertainty generated by border-related litigation among factors that are pushing migrants to try to cross into the United States.

Under the proposed rule, asylum seekers who arrive at an official port of entry and claim asylum would be allowed to enter if they met the initial criteria and used a mobile app, known as CBP One, to schedule an appointment with U.S. authorities to review their application. But those who cross illegally between ports of entry, if caught, would have to prove that they were denied safe haven while in transit to the United States, such as from Guatemala or Mexico, to be allowed in.

The mobile app, intended to provide an orderly, streamlined system of processing asylum seekers, has been in use since January, but the system has been overloaded by huge demand and plagued with glitches since tens of thousands of migrants staying in shelters on the Mexican side of the border began using it.

Migrants have been rising before dawn to go online, hoping to maximize their chances of securing an appointment through the app. The vast majority fail to get a spot in the virtual queue that opens at 6 a.m. and offers appointments for exactly two weeks later, several immigrant advocates said.

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