US President Joe Biden has announced a new plan to accept up to 30,000 migrants each month, while also expanding a Trump-era policy to make it easier to send many back to Mexico. How will this impact the crisis at the border?
Mr Biden believes the new policy – which will apply to asylum seekers from Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti and Venezuela – will “substantially reduce” the number of people who attempt to cross the US-Mexico border illegally.
“This new process is orderly, it’s safe and it’s humane,” Mr Biden said in a speech at the White House.
While experts and immigration advocates believe it may be effective, many expressed concerns that an increased number of migrants may be sent to unsafe or inhumane conditions in Mexico.
“The administration is shifting its overall policy to a carrot and stick approach,” said Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, of the American Immigration Council. “And the emphasis is on the stick”.
What’s in the new plan?
Citizens from the four countries will be offered an expanded legal pathway to apply to enter the US, where they will be allowed to live and work for up to two years. To be eligible, migrants must have financial sponsors already in the US, and pass security vetting.
Applications can be done through an application, CBP One, which allows would-be asylum seekers to schedule an arrival at a port of entry into the US. Those who are denied or attempt to cross illegally will be ineligible for the programme in the future.
“Stay where you are and apply legally. If your application is approved…you have access,” Mr Biden said on Thursday. “But if your application is denied or you attempt to cross into the United States unlawfully, you will not be allowed to enter.”