Biden administration expands program eligibility to bring minors from Central America to United States
The Biden administration announced on Tuesday that it is significantly expanding eligibility for a program that brings minors from Central America to the United States if they already have parents or legal guardians here – as part of efforts by the administration to fight against the influx of migrants to the southern border.
“Proud to work with [Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas] on our responsible and progressive approach to reinstate and improve Central American miners [CAM] program, ”tweeted Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “The second phase of its reopening will expand access to people based in the United States who previously did not have the right to petition for their children. “
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The program, which began under the Obama administration, aims to unite under-21s from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador who already have parents or guardians in the country. The Trump administration abolished the program and it was revived by the Biden administration in March.
The first phase consisted of opening cases which were closed when the program was terminated. The second phase, announced on Tuesday, extends eligibility to legal guardians and parents who have legal residency or a range of other categories – including Temporary Protected Status (TPS), parole, deferred action, delayed forced departure or suspension of removal. It also applies to those who have a pending asylum application or a pending U visa – for those who are victims of criminal activity – request filed before May 15, 2021.
This is part of a strategy by the Biden administration to deal with the massive increase in migration across the southern border which has focused not on returning and banning migrant children from entering states. United, but rather on their entry into the United States and their treatment as quickly as possible. .
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While the administration has turned away some adults and migrant families with Title 42 public health protections, it has refused to apply them to unaccompanied children.
The move coincided with an increase in the number of migrants at the border, which at one point included a historic number of unaccompanied children, although that number has declined in recent months.
The Biden administration has emptied the once full border patrol facilities like in Donna, Texas, resulting in a significant increase in the number of migrant children in the care of Heath and Human Services (HHS). The HHS paid for the travel expenses of migrant children to be transported to their sponsors across the country.
The administration says it pursues pathways that allow for safe and “orderly” migration, while also claiming that the border is not open.
“We are firmly committed to welcoming people to the United States with humanity and respect, as well as providing a legal alternative to irregular migration,” a statement from Blinken and Mayorkas said Tuesday. “We are keeping our promise to promote safe, orderly and humane migration from Central America through this expansion of legal avenues to seek humanitarian protection in the United States.”
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However, Republicans and immigration hawks criticized the pressure to open the CAM. Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, recently wrote to Blinken and Mayorkas to express concerns about the plans.
“I fear that this effort is somehow presented as an effort to combat the number of migrants on the southern border while it does nothing to stem the flow or resolve the crisis created by this administration,” he said. he said in a statement. declaration. “There is no evidence to suggest that southern border arrivals or illegal crossings were curtailed when the Obama administration tried years ago, so there is no reason to believe it will have this. effect now. “
On Tuesday, the American Federation for Immigration Reform (FAIR) called the move “another terrible political decision that does nothing to stem migration from Central America or to truly address the crisis it has brought about. created “.
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“This is a new tool under the guise of legality to admit any minor or adult from Central America without having to face a disturbing and politically awkward perspective,” FAIR government relations chief RJ Hauman told Fox News. . “Why make the trip north when we’re just going to take you here for the taxpayer’s penny?” “
It comes a week after Vice President Kamala Harris visited Mexico and Guatemala and issued a stern warning to migrants not to go to the border. The vice president said she believed they would be turned away if they did.