There’s never a dull moment when it comes to U.S. immigration news. From a new proposal to restrict access to asylum at the southern border despite a drop in migrant encounters there to White House immigration staffers moving on, here are this week’s top four headlines on the immigration news front.
1: Biden’s New Proposal to Restrict Access to Asylum Comes into Effect
Yes, you read that headline right: President Joe Biden is set to roll out a new proposal to restrict access to asylum at the southern border. The policy would make undocumented migrants crossing the southern border ineligible for asylum if they did not first make a claim in a country they passed through on their way to the U.S. It will take effect on May 11 and serve as the policy solution to the long-awaited end of Title 42, a pandemic-era restriction that lifts the same day.
The move has been criticized by his base, but the Biden administration has, however, said it wants to incentivize more migrants to apply for asylum in their home countries, before making the dangerous trip. The roll out comes as Trump ally and immigration hard-liner Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, meanwhile, offered qualified support for the new policy even as 100 immigration advocacy groups likened the policy to a similar strategy known as a “transit ban” that was championed by Stephen Miller, the former senior adviser to El Trumpeto.
2: Biden Immigration Staff Moving on
Two White House officials involved in crafting immigration policy are reportedly preparing to depart the Biden administration. The departures reportedly relate to frustration over the increasingly hardline policies being embraced by the administration on the immigration front, including the upcoming May rule.
Lise Clavel, deputy assistant to the president and senior adviser for migration, and Leidy Perez-Davis, special assistant to the president for immigration, are set to leave the White House, according to Politico, quoting two sources familiar with the plans. Clavel’s last day will reportedly be March 1, but Perez-Davis was asked by the White House to delay her departure and will leave in a couple months, Politico reported. Their exits from the administration are just the latest changes on Biden’s team handling migration and the border in his first two years. Tyler Moran, Biden’s senior adviser for migration, left in January 2022, after replacing Amy Pope the previous summer. Esther Olavarria, deputy assistant to the president for immigration on the Domestic Policy Council, also retired that month.
Roberta Jacobson, Biden’s “border czar,” left in April 2021, and some mid- and low-level aides have also departed.
3: What Border Crisis?
Meanwhile, the latest U.S. Customs and Border Protection numbers show that migrant encounters at the United States-Mexico border dropped from a record of about 252,000 in December 2022 to about 156,000 in January 2023. That’s nearly a 40% difference.
The CBP credits the decrease to a parole program that began on January 5 for migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, the four countries that had the highest numbers of migrants trying to cross into the U.S. during the preceding months. The program is designed to decrease unauthorized migration, including crossing between ports of entry, and will allow up to 30,000 migrants per month from each country to enter the and live in the U.S. for up to two years. Once their applications are approved, they will be allowed to proceed with travel arrangements.
4: “Death Santis” Keeps on Scapegoating Immigrants
Florida’s mini-Trumpeto continues to scapegoat immigrants to make himself noticed for 2024 and a national run for president. He continues to take a much harder-line stance on immigration. After kidnapping and transporting nearly 50 migrants, mostly Venezuelans, across state lines from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, last year, Death Santis now wants to repeal a 2014 law, sponsored by current Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nunez when she was a member of the Florida House, that offered out-of-state tuition vouchers to some eligible Dreamers. After the law passed with Republican support and becoming law, mini-Trumpeto now says has to be repealed to keep down tuition costs.
“If we want to hold the line on tuition, then you have got to say: ‘You need to be a U.S. citizen living in Florida,’” DeSantis said last week. “Why would we subsidize a non-U.S. citizen when we want to make sure we can keep it affordable for our own people?”
His other immigration package also includes:
- Making it a third-degree felony to “transport, conceal, or harbor illegal aliens,” and a second-degree felony if the person being transported is a minor.
- Mandating that hospitals collect data about the immigration status of patients and submit reports on costs associated with providing care to undocumented immigrants.
- Requiring that people registering to vote check a box affirming they are U.S. citizens and Florida residents.
- Prohibiting local governments from issuing ID cards to unauthorized “aliens and invalidating out-of-state licenses issued to unauthorized aliens.”
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.com – The Black Immigrant Daily News.