The United States Department of State and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have announced additional sweeping measures to deter Caribbean and other migrants from illegally entering the country.
The announcement came a day before Thursday’s end of the COVID-19 public health emergency and the lifting of the pandemic-era Title 42 public health order, which allowed the government to halt the entry of people and imports to prevent the introduction of a communicable disease from outside the borders of the continental US.
The State Department said that when the Title 42 order is lifted by midnight Thursday, the United States would be strengthening its enforcement of long-standing Title 8 immigration authorities to expeditiously process and remove individuals, who arrive at the US border unlawfully and do not have a legal basis to remain.
“Individuals who cross into the United States at the southwest border without authorization or without having used a lawful pathway, and without having scheduled a time to arrive at a port of entry, will be presumed ineligible for asylum, absent an applicable exception,” the State Department warned.
“If removed, they will be barred from re-entry for at least five years and subject to potential criminal prosecution for repeated attempts to enter unlawfully,” the State Department added.
The US said Haitians, Cubans and Venezuelans are among migrants flooding the country’s southern border in their attempt to enter the country. Many who have managed to cross the border have sought asylum.
As part of the comprehensive, multi-agency, multi-country plan to prepare for the return to processing of Caribbean and other migrants under Title 8, the Biden administration said additional sweeping measures will include opening the first regional processing centers to direct individuals to lawful pathways; deploying a first group of additional troops to support border patrol; surging additional resources to manage increased encounters; issuing new rules to encourage migrants to use lawful pathways; and ramping up efforts to counter misinformation.
The State Department said it plans to eventually open about 100 regional processing centers at key locations in the Western Hemisphere, and, in the coming days, will launch an online platform for individuals to make appointments to arrive at a centers near them.
The State Department said over 140 US federal personnel, including from DHS and State, and personnel from the International Organization on Migration and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees are being deployed to support these “brick-and-mortar centers, which will serve to direct migrants to lawful pathways early in their journey and well before reaching the southwest border.”
“Personnel at Regional Processing Centers will screen individuals for eligibility for US refugee resettlement or other lawful pathways to the United States, Canada and Spain,” the State Department said.