For Immediate release: Jan 06, 2023

New Biden Administration Border Enhancements Add More Hurdles for Vulnerable Migrants & Expand on the Racist and Xenophobic Title 42

FLORIDA – Yesterday, the Biden-Harris Administration unveiled new border enforcement enhancements that teeter dangerously close to an all-out unconstitutional asylum ban. What is being described as a “carrot and stick” approach, these new protocols will allow access for a number of migrants from Nicaragua,, Haiti, and Cuba while making it almost impossible for all others. This expansion of the parole process for Cubans, Nicaraguans, and Haitians is modeled after one the Biden Administration released in 2021 for Venezuelans. While we are glad that individuals will have access to a process, we are worried about the ramifications to our asylum system and the well-being of immigrants at the Southern border. The administration is also enacting a “transit ban,” which would bar people from seeking asylum if they passed through a third country.  The Biden Administration also announced new humanitarian parole programs for Nicaraguans, Cubans, and Haitians in exchange for forfeiting their legal right to apply for asylum. A one size fits all approach to improving our immigration system that is fair and legal is not what we expected from this administration.  Efforts will continue to push the administration to eliminate Title 42, provide Immigration Reform, fix our broken immigration system, and redesignate Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Nicaragua.

Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, Tessa Petit states, 

“We are glad that a number of asylum seekers from Venezuela, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Cuba will be able to find the promise of safety and refuge in the United States, but this is not nearly enough and is not easily applicable in failed states. While offering relief to some migrants and asylum seekers, these humanitarian parole programs will assist a limited number of people with the means to apply and only offers temporary protection for those seeking long-term security. We also must ask how implementing a system that requires migrants to have a smartphone with internet access and have a certain level of digital navigation skills to set their immigration appointments impact those desperately seeking safety, especially those who don’t speak English, or Spanish, or don’t manage a written language. Furthermore, it is unthinkable that President Joseph R. Biden, who our communities supported in his bid to the White House, is continuing to uphold and expand Donald Trump and Stephen Miller’s racist Frankenstein known as Title 42. And all of this, without mentioning the implementation of a so-called “transit ban” which will deny people their due process, and discriminates against immigrants without financial means. These new policies will undoubtedly have a disparate impact on Black, Brown, and Indigenous people seeking safety. Fighting for the soul of the nation takes more than words, it must be reflected in the actions that this administration takes, especially the actions that affect the most vulnerable. While Congress must work with the Biden administration to pass legislation that would provide a path to citizenship to millions of immigrants in the U.S., we also need President Biden and VP Harris to lead by example and champion the right to seek asylum, and most of all, legal and humane immigration processes.”

Yareliz Mendez-Zamora, Federal Campaign Lead for the Florida Immigrant Coalition comments,

“Sadly, the Biden-Harris Administration is proudly relying on and expanding former president Trump’s anti-immigrant policy advisor Stephen Miller’s racist and xenophobic policy. Trump and Miller used Title 42 to justify dismantling the asylum system. In this new expansion, we see COVID concerns continue to be an excuse, all the while the U.S. has been operating as if COVID has been long over, including opening its ports of entry to tourists and other travelers, even those without proof of Covid-19 vaccination. This shows us that Title 42 was never about public health, but rather a racist cruel double standard. Adding more hurdles, as we are seeing now, isn't the answer or an appropriate balance. The Biden administration should be taking steps to restore asylum law at ports of entry, not hinder vulnerable migrants from reaching the promise of this country, a country that has depended and thrived on immigration for generations. When it comes to Nicaragua, we are saddened that this administration has yet to redesignate TPS, but has no qualms about creating harsher enforcement laws that will harm Nicaraguans seeking protections. TPS would protect over 35,000 Nicaraguans who are currently in the U.S. but this administration continues to choose bad politics and bad policies.”

Adriana Rivera