On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced new immigration measures at the border in an effort to drastically reduce illegal entry. A document released by the White House stated that the new processes will expand the legal pathways for migration to the United States and make the process more efficient.
The new policies will also see more consequences for people who attempt to enter the country illegally.
Alongside this, the 46th President’s plan also outlines how it will send more resources to the border to tackle smuggling operations and support border cities and non-governmental organisations.
In a speech at the White House, President Biden said: “This new process is orderly, it’s safe and it’s humane.”
“Stay where you are and apply legally. If your application is approved…you have access.
“But if your application is denied or you attempt to cross into the United States unlawfully, you will not be allowed to enter.”
The President is scheduled to visit El Paso on Sunday for a two-day summit in Mexico City.
Human rights organisations criticised his plans for denying the chance to apply to people from Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Haiti if they cross the border without permission.
Biden claimed that these people, who have been identified as the majority of migrants who attempt to cross the border, would instead be immediately returned to Mexico.
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The 46th President declared: “Today, my administration is taking several steps to stiffen enforcement for those who try to come without a legal right to stay.”
In a move to quell the criticism from humanitarian organisations, Biden announced that as many as 30,000 people every month from the four countries will be given the option to migrate to the US legally.
The move will be based on whether applicants have the ability to buy a plane ticket, secure a sponsor, download an app, complete and pass a background check, and meet a number of other requirements.
Aaron Reichlin-Melnick from the American Immigration Council accused the Biden administration of “shifting its overall policy to a carrot and stick approach…and the emphasis is on the stick”.
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He added that Biden’s plan sees a “real return to the Trump-era policies that attempted to deter asylum seekers from getting here in the first place” but said the creation of new pathways is a “positive step”.
Mr Biden’s sudden move to a more aggressive approach on immigration reflects the pressure record-high immigration numbers have had on his administration.
The President did make a move to distance his policies from those of Mr Trump, saying that his strategy will give people more opportunities to flee danger and find a better life in America.
However, New Jersey’s Democratic Senator Bob Menendez said: “This benefit will exclude migrants fleeing violence and persecution who do not have the ability or economic means to qualify.”