Last week we informed our readers about the ongoing issues the Biden administration is having with the monumental increase in illegal border crossings from Mexico as well as the anticipated increase in upcoming asylum requests. This is a result of both the war in Ukraine and the worsening of conditions in Central America as well as Biden’s announcement to eliminate the Title 42 rule that allows the U.S. Border Patrol to swiftly deport illegal border crossers from the U.S. due to the pandemic.
The elimination of the Title 42 protocols has resulted in unexpected and fierce criticism from both Republican and Democrat Senators. This is being described as a political “revolt” since a number of moderate Democrats have joined Republicans in demanding the pandemic health policy be reinstated. A bill was introduced last week by this bipartisan coalition to preserve the policy for an extended period of time to allow the surgeon general time to decide when it is safe to end Title 42. Specifically, two House Democrats representing border districts in Texas have joined the revolt requesting Biden hold off ending the policy since they argue that the U.S. does not have an adequate plan to deal with the influx of migrants that will arrive at the border once the policy is lifted.
Although not specifically related to the pandemic, attempted illegal entries at the southern border are no longer limited primarily to people living in the troubled countries making up the Northern Triangle. The U.S. Border Patrol has recorded Cubans arriving in record numbers. According to the Biden administration, these Cuban arrivals represent the highest numbers of attempted illegal entries into the U.S. since the historic 1980 Mariel boatlift situation. Just last month, more than 32,000 Cubans were taken into U.S. custody which represents double the number of Cubans who arrived in the month of February. It appears that these refugees are flocking to Nicaragua since that country recently eliminated visa requirements for all Cubans. Upon landing, the refugees immediately leave Nicaragua and then travel on land to either Del Rio, Texas, or Yuma, Arizona, where they surrender to U.S. border agents and ask for asylum.
In addition to the increase of Cuban migrants, the number of Ukrainian refugees seeking entry at the southern border also continues to increase. The Border Patrol reports that these refugees are not limited to Ukrainians with valid refugee documents, but include thousands of undocumented Ukrainians who have been able to obtain proper documentation for whatever reason. According to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), between February 1 and April 6, around 9,926 undocumented Ukrainians have been processed at the border while 41,074 legal entries of Ukrainians with permission to enter the U.S. have been granted entry. The U.S. government continues its efforts to help displaced Ukrainians by providing special documentation that will not only allow their temporary entry into the U.S. but will only help in the future as the government provides additional protections such as Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
The much-anticipated announcement of the TPS designation for Ukrainian nationals was posted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on April 18th. The federal registry notice provides information about the 18-month designation and how to register for the protection. Registration began on April 19, 2022, and the government is now accepting applications that will allow work authorization and protection from deportation. To be eligible, individuals must demonstrate their continuous residence in the U.S. since April 11, 2022, and continuous physical presence in the United States since the designation date in the Federal Register notice. USCIS estimates that 59,600 Ukrainians currently in the United States will be eligible for this protection. Unfortunately, Ukrainian nationals currently outside the U.S. are not eligible for TPS at this time and they will not become eligible by relocating to the U.S. in the coming weeks. Instead, Ukrainians outside the U.S. are encouraged to apply for a visa or other legal pathway at a U.S. consulate abroad.
If you or your family are struggling with the results of the conflict in Ukraine or with the worsening problems in Central America, please call our office today at 616-805-3435 to schedule a consultation to discuss your options or by using the following link to schedule an appointment online: https://marvinlawoffice.com/schedule-a-consultation/.