The United States Prepares a Regulation That Will Make it Difficult for Cuban Immigrants to Apply for Asylum

A group of migrants at the southern US border. (Marlene Guzmán/Univision Network/Facebook)

14ymedio biggerEFE/14ymedio, Washington/Havana, 21 February 2023 — The US Government is preparing a regulation that would make it difficult for thousands of people to apply for asylum, including Cuban migrants, as it would prevent those who cross the border illegally or who don’t apply for protection in other nations from entering the country.

The regulations, created jointly by the Department of National Security and the Justice Department, would make it easier for the Government to deport people who cross the border and ask for asylum, since, by doing so illegally, they would lose the right to benefit from this protection.

White House sources explained on Tuesday that the regulations are intended to “fill the legal gap” that will arise after the possible end of Title 42 next May, since Congress has not taken “any measure to guarantee the safe and humane management of migrants.”

“This Administration will simply not allow mass chaos and disorder at the border due to the lack of action by Congress,” said these sources, after the regulations were published in the Federal Registry on Tuesday and a 30-day period of arguments was opened.

Although these sources did not explain when the regulations will be applied or what will happen if Title 42 is extended again (as has happened previously), they did point out that “the intention is for the regulations to take effect when Title 42 expires and not before.”

If it enters into force, this would be one of the most restrictive immigration regulations in the entire Administration of Joe Biden, who, upon assuming the presidency in January 2021, eliminated many of the exclusionary immigration measures of the Donald Trump Administration (2017-2021).

Among them, he eliminated the controversial Asylum Cooperation Agreement (ACA) with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, known as the “safe third country” agreement, which allowed the United States to deport refugees who arrived in its territory and had not asked for asylum in the first country they stepped on when they left their home country.

However, official sources of the Biden Administration wanted to distance themselves from this rule and assured that the new one is not the same.

“It is definitely different in the sense that we are offering a refutable presumption and not prohibiting access to asylum, as the previous Administration did,” they pointed out. Thus, the regulations “would allow people to apply for asylum in the United States whenever they enter through legal means,” they insisted.

Title 42 is part of the Public Health Law of 1944 and temporarily authorizes the expulsion of foreigners for health reasons.

The government of then-President Trump resorted to that rule in March 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Biden decided to extend it on several occasions when it was about to expire.

However, with the pandemic already over, it is likely that this rule will be lifted next May, a situation that could trigger an unprecedented crisis on the southern border.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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