US to open centers to handle Colombian, Guatemalan migrant cases

Washington, Apr 27 (EFE).- The United States government announced Thursday that it will create centers to handle immigration requests from Colombians and Guatemalans, where people can access legal migration advice on how to obtain refugee status, family reunification program participation and work permits.

The measure is part of the new efforts being made by the US government to try and reduce the illegal migrant flow toward the US-Mexico border starting May 11, when Title 42 – a measure allowing accelerated deportations of illegal migrants – is due to expire.

At the centers, which will be administered together with “international organizations,” migrants who have been evaluated by the authorities will be able to sign up for refugee programs and humanitarian permits for family reunification or work visas in the US, government officials said Thursday in a conference call with reporters.

Simultaneously, Canada and Spain agreed to take in migrants who may be referred to them from those centers.

With the new measures, a top-level US government official said, the US is seeking to help migrants access regular – that is, legal – means of migration into the US and other countries in a “safe, orderly and humane” manner.

The US is making legal migration options more accessible for migrants coming from South and Central America as an alternative to prevent people from taking dangerous routes or options – like dealing with people smugglers – to enter the US, the official said.

The announcement is among a battery of measures announced by the US with an eye toward the May 11 expiration of Title 42, a measure that has enabled the US to expel 2.5 million migrants since it entered into effect in 2020 during former President Donald Trump’s mandate under the pretext of keeping carriers of the coronavirus out of the country.

In a hearing before Congress last week, the acting commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection, Troy Miller, said that the expectation is that the number of illegal crossings of the US border will increase to 10,000 per day once Title 42 is suspended.

EFE –/bp

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