President Joe Biden announced a new immigration program while attacking “extreme Republicans” for the chaos on the southern border Thursday.
Biden announced an expanded “parole” program for migrants of four countries in a speech from the White House. He also called for greater investment into the asylum process, blaming Republicans for the border crisis.
“I will visit the border myself this Sunday in El Paso to assess border enforcement operations, meet with the local officials and community leaders and the folks at the border telling me what they need that they don’t have, and making public what they need that they don’t have to try and convince my Republican colleagues they should do something,” Biden said.
Biden is expanding a “parole” program for Venezuelans to include migrants from Nicaragua, Cuba, and Haiti. The U.S. will accept 30,000 people from those countries a month as long as they have family or another tie to the U.S. already. The program will also expedite the removal of those migrants who don’t qualify for the parole program, the president said.
“My message is this: If you’re trying to leave Cuba, Nicaragua, or Haiti, have agreed to begin a journey to America, do not — do not just show up at the border. Stay where you are and apply legally from there. Starting today, if you don’t apply through the legal process, you will not be eligible for this new parole program,” the president said.
Biden blamed “extreme Republicans” for blocking his border agenda in Congress. He called for increased spending for immigration judges and asylum agents to speed up the asylum process, which is under a severe backlog that can stretch out an asylum case for years.
“They can keep using immigration to try to score political points, or they can help solve the problem,” Biden said.
Biden has overseen an unprecedented surge in illegal immigration under his administration. In fiscal year 2022, border authorities made a record 2.2 million arrests. Nearly 600,000 migrants reportedly entered the U.S. illegally over the southern border and were never intercepted by authorities.
In several days, Biden plans to make what could be his first meaningful visit to the U.S. border. He plans to visit the border and speak with officials while traveling to meet Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at a summit in Mexico City next week.
“We have a big agenda that ranges from the climate crisis to economic development and other issues. But one important part of that agenda is strengthening our border between our nations,” Biden said.