"My message is this. If you're trying to leave Cuba, Nicaragua, or Haiti, or have agreed to begin a journey to America… do not just show up at the border," the 80-year-old president said. Migrants attempting to illegally cross from Venezuela were hit with the expanded policy in October, resulting in a "dramatic drop" in the number of Venezuelan nationals attempting to enter the United States unlawfully, according to the White House.
Miguel Díaz-Canel of the Communist Party of Cuba took over from Raúl Castro as President of Cuba in 2019. Daniel Ortega from the socialist Sandinista National Liberation Front has been president of Nicaragua since 2007. Prime Minister Ariel Henry has been acting president of Haiti since 2021 after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Nicolas Maduro, successor to Hugo Chavez and leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, has been president of Venezuela since 2013.
In an attempt to mitigate the impact on hopeful migrants from those countries, Biden also announced that the US will allow up to 30,000 people from each nation respectively, plus Venezuela, to enter the country legally each month.
In the announcement, made at the White House, Biden warned Cuban, Haitian, and Nicaraguan border-crossers to "not just show up at the border."
Illegal migrants "will be increasingly subject to expedited removal to their country of origin and subject to a five-year ban on reentry," according to the administration.
In November, American border patrol officials encountered 82,000 migrants from all four countries who were making attempts to enter the country illegally.
"These actions alone are not going to fix our entire immigration system,” Biden said, adding that they could still "help a good deal."
In describing the increased efforts to take in legal migrants, Biden said that they can "use an app on their cell phone," to apply for admittance on a Customs and Border Protection app.
He also blamed the border crisis on "extreme Republicans have said no" to necessary resources.
Meanwhile, fellow Democrats brought forth accusations of racism.
Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey criticized the expansion of former President Donald Trump's immigration policies, on Thursday calling Biden's move "a disastrous and inhumane relic of the Trump administration's racist immigration agenda."
Left-wing immigrant advocacy organization United We Dream also denounced the move, saying "This is NOT border security, this policy is a racist and classist attack on our communities."
Biden also repeated a common gaffe of his during the White House conference — referring to Vice President Kamala Harris as the president instead.
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