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New measure to limit migrants arriving at US-Mexico border

By MINLU ZHANG in New York | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-05-11 10:33
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A young migrant boy waits for some food at the border fence while migrants gather between primary and secondary border fences near San Diego, California, US, May 10, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

The Biden administration on Thursday will implement a new rule that will deny migrants at the Mexico border entry to the US without their first applying online or seeking protection in a country that they passed through.

It is one of several measures of President Joe Biden's border-enforcement plan, as the COVID-19 border restrictions under Title 42 expire Thursday.

The administration plans to establish 100 regional migration hubs across the Western Hemisphere, said administration officials, The Associated Press reported. 

The new rule will result in more severe consequences for migrants who cross the border illegally, said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. If caught, those individuals could face deportation and a five-year ban from entering the US if they don't meet the criteria for asylum, he said. 

"Let me be clear: The lifting of the Title 42 public health order does not mean our border is open," Mayorkas said at a news conference Wednesday. "Crossing irregularly is against the law, and those who are not eligible for relief will be quickly returned." 

The new rule was initially announced in February, and the final version becomes effective Thursday. The measure will likely face legal challenges, according to the AP. 

In 2019, then-President Donald Trump pursued comparable yet more restrictive measures, but they were blocked from being implemented by a federal appeals court. 

Meanwhile, the Biden administration is preparing a memo that would direct Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to release migrants caught crossing the southern border into the US without court dates or any way to track them, NBC News reported. 

The new policy would release the migrants on "parole" with a notice to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, but without enrolling them in a program like Alternatives to Detention, which required migrants to check in on a mobile app until they were given a court date.

The goal is to alleviate overcrowding in border facilities and speed up the process of releasing migrants into the US. 

More than 11,000 migrants were caught crossing the southern border on Tuesday, surpassing the expectations of Homeland Security Department officials who had predicted around 10,000 per day once COVID restrictions are lifted Thursday. 

The processing centers are currently accommodating more than 27,000 migrants, exceeding the capacity of approximately 18,500 individuals that those facilities are designed to handle, according to NBC News.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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