Biden Administration to Accept Thousands of Refugees Living in Mexico

The White House announced on Friday that it had agreed to accept Cubans, Nicaraguans, Haitians and Venezuelans living in Mexico for resettlement as refugees. This is the latest step in the administration’s strategy to allow more migrants to enter through legal “pathways”, in order to reduce the chaos at the southern boundary.

Jake Sullivan, White House National Security Advisor, announced that the U.S. had committed to expanding access to “safe, orderly and legal migration pathways” after a meeting with Mexican President Andres Manual Lopez Obrador.

Mexico will create an “international multipurpose area” that offers “new options for refugees and workers to the most vulnerable people currently in Mexico.”

Sullivan stated that “we also commit to accepting refugee resettlement referrals by qualified individuals from Cuba (or other countries), Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, who are already living in Mexico.”

Refugees who are resettled on the path of permanent residency, and eventually citizenship in the United States. The Biden administration increased the cap on refugees to 125,000, a significant increase over the 18,000 that was allowed in the last fiscal year of Trump’s administration.

This is the latest step to open up additional routes for immigrants to enter the U.S., beyond the visa system. In January, the administration announced a humanitarian parole program that would allow up to 30,000 migrants to fly directly to the U.S.

Separately the U.S. allows up to 1,450 migrants per day via parole into the U.S. if they set up an appointment using the CBP One App at a southern border port of entry.

Republicans have strongly criticized the expansion. They accuse the administration of abusing the parole system, which Congress determined should only be used for “case-by-case” situations involving urgent humanitarian concerns and public benefits. This was done to allow illegal migrants into the U.S.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) told Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, at a House Hearing this week, that the app is a “Disney Fast Pass”, into the country, and accused him of digitalizing illegal immigration.