President Biden announced Thursday the United States will begin blocking migrants from Haiti, Nicaragua and Cuba from applying for asylum if they’re apprehended crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. The asylum seekers will instead be expelled to Mexico without due process as part of an expansion of the contested Trump-era Title 42 pandemic policy. This comes as the Supreme Court is set to decide Title 42’s fate in its next session. Biden also announced a small number of Haitians, Nicaraguans and Cubans will qualify for a program granting them temporary permission to live and work in the U.S. if they apply for the relief from their home countries and already have financial sponsors in the U.S. The announcement came just days before Biden is scheduled to visit El Paso, Texas, Sunday to meet with local officials. It will be Biden’s first trip to the U.S.-Mexico border as president. During his remarks Thursday, Biden made no mention of the harsh U.S. sanctions that have contributed to poverty in Nicaragua and Cuba, nor did he acknowledge the catastrophic legacy of U.S. interventions in Haiti.
President Joe Biden: “My message is this: If you’re trying to leave Cuba, Nicaragua or Haiti, you have — or have agreed to begin a journey to America, do not — do not just show up at the border. Stay where you are, and apply legally from there. Starting today, if you don’t apply through the legal process, you will not be eligible for this new parole program.”
In a statement, the American Civil Liberties Union said, “Title 42 expulsions were already an unjustifiable misuse of the public health laws … Let’s be clear: nothing requires the administration to expand Title 42 while it claims to be preparing for its ending. There is simply no reason why the benefits of a new parole program for Cubans, Nicaraguans, and Haitians must be conditioned on the expansion of dangerous expulsions.”