US proposes migration plan to help refugees in Mexico

Washington, Jul 2 (EFE).- The US government has proposed to Mexico a new migration plan that would benefit refugees from Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and other nations who are in Mexican territory waiting to cross the border into the United States, an official familiar with the bilateral talks told EFE.

According to this official, the program that the US and Mexico are negotiating is aimed at alleviating the immigration pressure that the Mexican government has faced over the past several years.

The official did not specify precisely what would be included in the program or whether, like other initiatives of the Joe Biden administration, it would allow refugees in Mexico to request asylum remotely without having to cross the border and appear in person at one of the US Border Patrol centers.

In any case, the official said, only refugees who have entered Mexican territory prior to June 6, 2023, will be able to take advantage of the program.

The official also did not specify whether a specific number of people of any given nationality will be able to take advantage of the asylum program. However, most of the people who cross into the US from Mexico these days come from Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, according to figures compiled by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

To request asylum in the US, a person must demonstrate that they are facing persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, political views or because they belong to a particular social or ethnic group.

The Biden administration has implemented assorted measures to foster legal migration and prevent thousands of people from illegally crossing into the US from Mexico seeking asylum or better economic opportunities, a situation that has brought great pressure to bear on the resources of certain border communities.

Currently, the main way to request asylum in the US is via the “CBP One” mobile app, which allows migrants in Mexico to make appointments with US authorities where they can present their asylum requests and have them processed.

However, this app only allows for people to book 1,250 appointments per day, meaning that the available spots rapidly fill up.

Another program created by the Biden administration allows citizens of Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela to request an immigration permit to enter the US but only people who arrive on US territory by airplane and have a local sponsor who can prove that he or she will help them adjust to life in the US may qualify.

That program, however, limits the number of immigration permits to 30,000 per month and, due to the high demand, only half that number of permit requests have been processed in certain months, according to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Web site.

EFE –/bp

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