Biden Streamlines Migrants Into The U.S.?

Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Opening U.S. immigration centers in Colombia, Costa Rica, and Guatemala ensures that these countries will become waiting rooms for asylum seekers seeking U.S. visas.

Washington’s “Safe Mobility” initiative in Central America aims to expand legal options for asylum seekers and keep them in countries further from the U.S. border.

The new program launched on May 11, when Title 42 ended.

Title 42 allowed the U.S. authorities to return migrants across the border and prevent them from applying for asylum under rules imposed because of the Covid pandemic.

Migrants must now request a virtual appointment through the website, which the United Nations Refugee Agency and the International Organization for Migration support.

New regional processing centers in Guatemala and Colombia will interview immigrants seeking legal passage to the United States, Canada, and Spain.

In Costa Rica, Safe Mobility offices will facilitate the legal immigration of Nicaraguans and Venezuelans who were in the country before June 12.

American officials consider the new program a success.

A State Department official who wanted to remain anonymous said the program would expand legal ways for migrants to obtain visas “instead of making the dangerous journey to try to enter” the country illegally.

The number of migrants entering the United States illegally from South America — primarily Venezuela and Ecuador — have increased through the Darien, a dangerous jungle isthmus between Colombia and Panama.

More than 100,000 people are expected to cross the Darien in 2023, a six-fold increase compared to the same period last year, according to a recent U.N. statement.