President Biden on Thursday warned migrants to not “just show up” at the southern U.S. border, while announcing new steps that aims to alleviate the crisis at the border.
“Do not, do not just show up at the border. Stay where you are and apply legally from there,” Biden said in remarks at the White House.
The Biden administration announced steps in the wake of an uptick in Venezuelans traveling through Mexico, including a cell phone app for those seeking asylum. Migrants can use the app to schedule an appointment at the port of entry and make their asylum claim there without crossing the border unlawfully.
He also announced the U.S. will expand the parole program for people from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Haiti.
He warned that “starting today, if you do not apply through the legal process, you will not be eligible for this new parole program.”
“The actions we are announcing today will make things better, will make things better, but will not fix the border problem completely,” he added.
Biden will go to El Paso, Texas, on Sunday to assess border enforcement operations, he noted. His trip comes ahead of a visit Mexico City for the North American Leaders’ Summit.
Biden on Thursday also said he wants to crack down on drug smuggling through the border, noting that he has provided “record funding” to add additional border patrol agents and new technology to look through containers to determine what’s inside.
“I know it’s a complicated issue. I don’t want to pretend there is anything easy about it,” Biden said about the situation at the border.
The visit to the southern border will be Biden’s first since taking office. He has faced criticism from Republicans for months because he has not visited the border amid the migrant crisis.
The president on Thursday renewed calls for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform measures.
The White House has asked Congress for $3.5 billion in funding to help with the situation at the southern border.
“If the most extreme Republicans continue to demagogue this issue and reject solutions, I’m left with only one choice, to act on my own,” Biden said. “Immigration reform used to be a bipartisan issue, we can make it that way again. It not only is the right thing to do, it’s the economically smart thing to do.”
The visit also comes after the Supreme Court last month ordered that the Title 42 border policy must remain in place. Biden, who has been under pressure from Republicans to reinstate the Trump-era policy, last week its end is “overdue” but that it has to be enforced in the wake of the court’s decision.
Title 42, implemented at the start of the pandemic, allows for migrants to be quickly expelled at the border without asylum processing.
Source: The Hill