U.S. to open immigrant processing centers in Latin America
Immigrants who do not apply to go through the expanded legal options will face more severe consequences if they cross the southern US border, including expedited deportations, authorities said.
A senior administration official briefing reporters described the moves as part of a new regional management approach “at a level of ambition and scale that has never been done before.” Canada and Spain will accept resettlement applicants through the centers, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity under ground rules laid out by the administration.
“People in the region will be able to make an appointment on their phone to visit the nearest (processing center) before traveling, receive an interview with immigration specialists and, if eligible, be quickly processed for legal pathways. to the United States, Canada, and Spain,” according to the Department of Homeland Security.
The White House has set May 11 as the date it plans to lift emergency Title 42 border measures that have been in place since March 2020, allowing authorities to quickly expel migrants to their countries of origin or to Mexico. . Border officials say they expect the number of illegal crossings along the southern border, already near record highs, to rise further when Title 42 ends.
Biden officials said they have been preparing for the anticipated raise for more than a year. Authorities have used the Title 42 policy to carry out more than 2.5 million removals in the past three years, but the White House is lifting the pandemic health emergency declaration that formed the underlying legal basis for border checks on emergency.
That will create a major stress test for the Biden administration on one of the issues, immigration and the southern border, which has drawn some of the president’s lowest approval ratings. Republican state officials have sued in federal court to prevent the Biden administration from lifting Title 42, but barring a last-minute ruling, the government will return to standard immigration procedures on May 11.
The immigration processing centers will be run by international organizations and are not yet operational, officials said, pledging to provide more details on their plans in the coming weeks.