Immigration to the U.S. through the U.S.-Mexico border has always been challenging for many. But it became even more complicated when the Trump administration implemented Title 42. An emergency health authority, Title 42 was a policy that allowed U.S. officials to turn down immigrants using the justification that they were trying to stop the spread of COVID-19.
But the current Biden administration dropped Title 42 last week and replaced it with a new series of policies to help control immigration across the border. While the end of Title 42 should be good news to immigrants, there is confusion over the new border rules.
So, what exactly do these new rules do for potential immigrants?
New asylum rules
U.S. and international laws allow anyone arriving in the country to request asylum. Asylum is granted to those who face persecution and threats in their home country, and reviewing each applicant’s case could take years.
Typically, the U.S. allows asylum seekers to stay over as they await their application cases. But new rules will turn away refugees who didn’t first attempt to seek protection in a country they passed through. This mainly affects immigrants from countries like Brazil, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, who often must pass through other South American countries and Mexico before reaching the U.S.-Mexico border.
Under the new rules, the U.S. will accept up to 30,000 immigrants monthly from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. But officials will only take these immigrants if they fly in by air, have a sponsor to vouch for them, and have applied online beforehand.
The U.S. will also welcome up to 100,000 immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras who have family in the country – but they, too, must initially apply online.
Immigrants from other countries must first apply through the CBP One app, which currently has 740 slots per day for applicants. The revamped app now allows applicants to request an appointment up to 23 hours a day, compared to the older version’s time restriction.
The changes may have given more opportunities for immigrants awaiting their chances to enter the U.S., but the asylum and citizenship processes remain complicated. The processes can be intimidating, especially for immigrants unfamiliar with U.S. laws and procedures. If you have family waiting on the other side of the border, the advice and guidance of an immigration attorney could help. An attorney can help advocate for the rights of your immigrant relatives and walk them through the process to prevent any confusion.