President Joe Biden spoke at length Thursday about expansions to border security through Title 42, a policy that he admitted he doesn’t like.
Biden’s White House address came on the heels of scrutiny from members of both sides of the partisan divide. It is due to a massive influx of migrants over the past year and the busing of migrants to liberal-leaning states—some of which don’t have the capacity to house them, or are worried about the effects to public safety, like New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
Title 42 was enacted as a Trump-era policy during the COVID-19 pandemic that allowed for migrants to be sent back to their home countries without a formal asylum process. After the Biden administration requested a delay of the repealing of the policy, the U.S. Supreme Court in December allowed it to temporarily stay in place before it rules again later this year.
“I wanted to make sure that I knew what the outcome—at least the near outcome—was on Title 42 before I went down,” Biden said when asked why his administration didn’t address the border crisis more urgently since the beginning of his presidency. We don’t have that yet, so I had to operate—I don’t like Title 42. But it’s the law now, and I have to operate within it.
“It’s—my prediction is—it’s not—there’s nothing particularly insightful about this: Title 42 is going to go away before the end of the year, in terms of the Supreme Court, in my prediction.”
Among the notable statements Biden made is a new policy allowing 30,000 migrants per month from Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua, but only if they apply legally through a new “parole program.” Biden said that the program in its infancy has already yielded positive results by way of fewer border crossings.
“The way this parole program works: One must have a lawful sponsor here in the United States who agrees to sponsor you to get here,” Biden said. “Then, that person has to go—undergo rigorous background checks and apply from outside the United States and not cross the border illegally in the meantime.”
The program was first used in accordance with Venezuelan migrants. Biden said the number of Venezuelans trying to enter the U.S. without going through a legal process has decreased, from about 1,100 per day to less than 250 per day on average.
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said it “continues to prepare for the end of Title 42.” It also announced new border provisions aimed to improve border security while creating “safe and orderly processes” for those fleeing countries plagued by humanitarian crises.
Aside from the parole program, a new app called CBP One was introduced and allows migrants to schedule meetings at ports of entry and to facilitate safe and orderly arrivals.
“We can provide humanitarian relief consistent with our values, cut out vicious smuggling organizations, and enforce our laws,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. “Individuals without a legal basis to remain in the United States will be subject to prompt expulsion or removal.”
Biden’s statements were met with some disapproval.
The Young Center, which works to provide asylum for migrants and especially children, called the new Biden policy regarding the four countries “unacceptable” in a tweet.
Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey called Biden’s Title 42 expansion “an affront to restoring rule of law at the border.”
“I am deeply disturbed that instead of working with Congress to develop a solution to the multiple humanitarian crises that are fueling mass migration in our hemisphere, the administration is circumnavigating immigration law which will exacerbate confusion and chaos at the southern border,” Menendez said, the Associated Press reported.