The number of immigrants crossing the Southwest border illegally has decreased under the expanded parole program


Federal officials said Wednesday that the number of immigrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela apprehended at the southern border has dropped significantly since President Biden expanded special programs this month that allow immigrants to apply for legal entry into the United States.

Officials touted the success of the programs, which direct immigrants to apply online and have a sponsor in the United States rather than try. border crossings, a day after Republican officials in 20 states filed a federal lawsuit in Texas to halt the programs. Republicans say the programs amount to ending immigration laws, while Biden administration officials say the latest preliminary detention figures show his policies can help ease the flow at the border.

“These expanded border control measures are working,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “It is incomprehensible that some states that will benefit from these highly effective enforcement measures are trying to block them and cause more irregular migration at our southern border.”

Senior administration officials said at a news conference Wednesday that the number of migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela attempting to cross the border illegally dropped from a seven-day average of 3,367 migrants per day on December 11 to an average of seven days. average of 115 per day, a 97 percent drop, putting January on track to record the lowest number of monthly apprehensions since February 2021. At the time, officials detained more than 100,000 migrants at the southern border.

Officials made more than 250,000 arrests in December, federal records show.

Biden announced the new measures on January 5 after successive years of record detentions at the southern border and growing concern that large numbers of migrants were arriving from countries the United States has a hard time sending them back to, such as authoritarian regimes. from Nicaragua. and Venezuela. The president said he had urged Congress to update immigration laws to address the problem and said he was expanding the programs, known as probation, because Republican lawmakers refused to act.

Biden’s border plan expands use of 1950s immigrant parole powers

Under the programs, immigrants must have a US sponsor willing to support them financially, pass security background checks and pay for their own airfare to the United States. Once they arrive, they can stay for up to two years and apply for a work permit and potentially asylum if they are fleeing persecution. Anyone who crosses the border illegally is disqualified from the program and could be deported to Mexico.

The United States has said it will accept up to 30,000 immigrants a month from Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Thousands of migrants have applied for the programs and 1,700 people have already arrived from Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua, authorities said Wednesday.

Several thousand Venezuelans have arrived under a parole program that began in October with a cap of 24,000 people and was expanded this month. Authorities said the number of Venezuelan migrants apprehended at the southern border dropped from about 1,100 a day to an average of 100 a day in January.

Parole is a 1950sit was a program that allows the government to admit immigrants who otherwise do not have legal permission to come to the US for humanitarian reasons or for significant public benefit. Officials must review applications on a case-by-case basis and subject them to background and security checks.

The latest parole programs build on similar initiatives for Ukrainians after the Russian invasion nearly a year ago and Afghans after the US military withdrawal in August 2021.

Administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the preliminary numbers, said the latest numbers show migrants will avoid trying to cross the border and paying smugglers thousands of dollars to cross through Mexico if they can present a legal request to enter the border. country.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, and representatives from 19 other states filed the lawsuit Tuesday seeking to halt the programs, saying the Department of Homeland Security “has effectively created a new visa program, without the formalities of legislation.” congressional”.

“This flouts, rather than follows, the clear limits imposed by Congress,” the complaint says.

Immigration pivot shows Biden facing harsh realities of border politics

Roberto Velasco Álvarez, a senior official in Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in an opinion piece published in Excelsior, one of Mexico’s leading newspapers, that the US program “has begun to produce important results,” including a sharp reduction of unauthorized immigration and the dangerous journeys migrants make to reach the southern border. Mexico has agreed to accept up to 30,000 migrants per month from the four countries under Title 42, a public health order that allows the US government to expel migrants who attempt to cross the border illegally, disqualifying them from parole.