WASHINGTON (Nexstar) – With the immigration policy known as Title 42 scheduled to end in 10 days, the Biden administration is giving details on how it plans to handle the expected waves of migrants.
“We are seeing a level of migration, not just at our southern border, but throughout the hemisphere that is unprecedented,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said.
By increasing the number of refugees accepted into the U.S. and opening new migrant processing centers in Latin America, the Biden administration hopes to reach one goal: “to disincentivize them from coming to the land border irregularly,” according to Blas Nunez Neto, assistant secretary for border and immigration policy.
Nuñez Neto says the new rules include requiring most asylum seekers to file applications and make appointments before showing up at the border. The assistant secretary added that the rules does not “preclude individuals from claiming asylum, what it does is place certain conditions on their eligibility.”
Nuñez Neto says if asylum seekers don’t follow the rules, they won’t qualify for asylum with few exceptions.
The administration will rely, in large part, on migrant processing centers which will open first in Colombia and Guatemala and will be paid for by the state department but operated in largely by NGOs.
“This is ambitious, it’s innovative, it’s frankly exciting,” Nunez Neto said.
Progressive lawmakers on Capitol Hill say they’re disappointed in the new plan, which they view as anti-immigration and Republicans also criticize the administration’s plans.
“The reality is nine out of 10 people that come over into our country illegally, do not qualify for asylum. So stop sending them down that route,” Rep. Tony Gonzalez (R-TX) said.
Administration officials say immigration policy has become so polarized that the administration regularly faces lawsuits from both sides, but officials say they feel they’re on strong legal ground.