(CNN) — The Joe Biden government announced this Thursday, April 27, that it will create regional processing centers in Latin America so that immigrants can apply to enter the United States. The decision was made because the implementation of Title 42 is expected to increase the flow of immigrants.
The still-to-be-developed centers are located in Colombia and Guatemala, two countries where migrants often pass through on their way to the US-Mexico border, senior government officials told reporters Thursday. The possibility of expanding these centers to other countries is being explored.
The announcement underscores the approach of the Biden administration.
“The idea, of course, is to keep people from continuing their journey,” said a senior government official, adding: “The idea of regional processing centers is to give people a legal, safe and regular way to enter the United States.”
Conclusion of Title 42 Enforcement
Title 42 is a provision implemented by the US government to combat the spread of the disease, which allows the entry of most migrants attempting to cross the border to be restricted.
On May 11, when the coronavirus public health emergency ends, the Covid-19 border control will expire. This means border officials can no longer deport certain migrants quickly.
Instead, authorities must return to decades-old protocols at a time of mass migration in the Western Hemisphere. These measures have created concerns in the government about the increase in migration immediately after repealing Title 42.
A senior Customs and Border Protection official told CNN that “several thousand” migrants are waiting to cross the border in northern Mexico. El Paso, Texas, where Biden was in January, and the Rio Grande Valley are some of the areas expected to see an influx of migrants, officials said.
The Darien Passage
The Darién region is a remote, roadless, mountainous jungle region between Colombia and Panama, connecting South and Central America. This road is considered as one of the most dangerous and traveled roads in the world.
The Biden administration recently reached an agreement with Panama and Colombia to reduce the flow of people through the Darien Gap. It will combat irregular movements, make legal channels accessible to the United States or other countries, and improve economic and sustainable opportunities, according to a joint statement by the United States, Panama and Colombia.
Another senior Biden administration official told CNN that would include increasing patrols of the Panama-Colombia border, arresting and prosecuting smugglers to facilitate access to existing legal routes into the United States and other countries.
But despite government efforts to discourage migrants from making the perilous journey, thousands continue to cross the Darien Gap.
Anticipating the difficult weeks ahead, White House officials have already begun contacts with Congress, sources told CNN, signaling a shift in the administration’s strategy as it tries to avert another crisis. In the past, the government has faced heavy criticism for implementing immigration policies without consulting lawmakers and allies.
Nick Patton Walsh, Natalie Galen, Bryce Lyne and Catherine E. With information from Shoizet et al.