US gov’t: Detentions of illegal migrants have plunged 96 pct. this year

Washington, Apr 16 (EFE).- Detentions of migrants trying to illegally cross the US southern border plunged by 96 percent during the first two months of this year, according to figures provided to EFE by a US Department of Homeland Security official.

January and February saw the lowest number of detentions since 2021 after the apprehension of Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans dropped from an average of 1,231 per day in early January to just 46 per day by the end of February.

The border control measures of the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris administration, which combine secure, orderly and legal processes, are working to reduce irregular migration, the official said.

In early January, the Biden administration decided to expand a controversial health regulation known as Title 42 to permit the immediate deportation of illegal migrants from Nicaragua, Cuba and Haiti.

Besides these three nationalities, Venezuelans also began to be deported to Mexico last October under this restriction.

Simultaneously to these tighter restrictions on requesting asylum on the border, the US government also created a program of issuing humanitarian entry permits for migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

According to figures provided by the DHS official, as of March 31 55,000 Cubans, Nicaraguans and Haitians had received travel authorization by the US government. For Venezuelans, more than 40,000 were authorized to travel to the US between October 2022 and the end of March 2023.

About 15,000 Cubans, more than 18,000 Haitians, more than 7,500 Nicaraguans and more than 32,000 Venezuelans have arrived in the US legally as per these procedures.

Since Biden’s announcement in January, detentions of illegal migrants at the entry points on the southwestern US border have drastically diminished, said the official, adding that the successful use of these procedures clearly shows that non-citizens prefer to use a “safe, legal and orderly” method to enter the US, if one is available, instead of risking their lives by relying on “merciless” people-smugglers to get them across the border.

The use of Title 42 by the Biden administration has been heavily criticized by human rights organizations and by certain members of the Democratic Party.

In late January, a group of 80 Democratic lawmakers headed by Sen. Robert Menendez, asked the government to roll back the decision to expel people from Cuba, Nicaragua and Haiti who enter the US illegally.

The Biden administration has defended its actions against the critics of Title 42 by saying that it must continue enforcing that regulation by order of the heavily conservative US Supreme Court.

The rule, which was originally put in place in 2020 by the Republican Donald Trump administration, has resulted in the expulsion from the US of more than 2.5 million migrants, according to figures from the International Rescue Committee.

EFE –/bp

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