McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Asylum application interviews will take place at eight international bridges on the Southwest border under new migration rules announced by the Biden administration this week.
The ports include:
- Brownsville, Texas
- Hidalgo, Texas
- Laredo, Texas
- Eagle Pass, Texas
- El Paso, Texas (Paso Del Norte Bridge)
- Nogales, Arizona
- San Ysidro, California (PedWest)
President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Thursday announced that they were expanding the humanitarian parole program implemented for Venezuelans in October to now include citizens from Haiti, Nicaragua and Cuba.
Under the new rules, up to 30,000 asylum-seekers from these four countries will be admitted into the United States every month; and up to 30,000 will be sent back to Mexico if they do not qualify.
To qualify, asylum-seekers must prove they have financial assistance from friends or family or a religious institution in the United States; be fully vetted and have no criminal background; and be up to date on all vaccinations and health records.
Homeland Security officials on Friday clarified for Border Report that the new regulations replace the previous asylum admittance cap of 24,000 that had been in place for Venezuelans for the past two months. Now a total of 30,000 will be accepted with no specific limit from any one country.
In order to qualify, migrants must request an interview with U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials on the agency’s CBPOne app. Border Report asked how long applicants are expected to wait until they receive an interview but no information was yet available.
Migrant advocates have decried the new policy change, saying it will exclude poor and vulnerable migrants who do not have the means to journey for an interview or apply via a cellphone app.
During a news call on Friday organized by the Welcome With Dignity Campaign, advocates said migrants fleeing political oppression will not be able to update their passports to fly directly to an internal U.S. city if they are approved.
“People have a right to come to the border to ask for asylum, regardless of what countries they come through, what documents they hold,” said Melissa Crow, of the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies.
Biden said during a Thursday news conference that the border is closed and migrants should not come.
“My message is this,” Biden said. “Do not just show up at the border. Stay where you are and apply legally.”
He said this new policy will secure the border as long as Title 42 remains in place.
On Friday, the Supreme Court announced that on March 1, it will hear a lawsuit regarding the continued enforcement of the public health rule, known as Title 42.
The president on Sunday is scheduled to make his first trip to the Southwest border to El Paso, Texas, prior to heading to Mexico City for the North American Leaders’ Summit where he will meet with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at Ssanchez@borderreport.com