The Biden administration announced new southern border policies Thursday, effective immediately, that will bar more immigrants from Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua from crossing the border to claim asylum, while increasing the number of legal avenues for those immigrants to apply. asylum from their country of origin. countries of origin.

President Joe Biden outlined the policy changes in brief remarks Thursday at the White House. He blamed congressional Republicans for blocking a more comprehensive plan he implemented upon taking office in 2021.

“The failure to approve and fund this comprehensive plan has increased the challenges we are seeing on the Southwest border,” he said, speaking in the Roosevelt Room.

Border control actions «are not going to fix our entire immigration system, but they can help us a lot to manage what is a difficult challenge,» he added.

Biden has faced constant criticism from Republicans for not visiting the southern border before his presidency. He is planning to make his first trip to the border on Sunday in El Paso, Texas, en route to a summit of American leaders.

Asked by a reporter why he is visiting the border now, Biden said: «Republicans haven’t taken this seriously at all.»

The president’s announcement comes as his administration faces a record number of illegal border crossings, particularly by immigrants from those three countries. Haitians, Cubans and Nicaraguans have been able to evade expulsion through Covid-19 border restrictions known as Title 42 that have prevented more than 1.4 million from crossing the border by forcing migrants to return to Mexico before they can apply for asylum. Citizens of Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua have not been subject to Title 42 in part because their home countries, and therefore Mexico, refuse to accept them back.

Now, the Biden administration will send up to 30,000 migrants from each of the three countries back to Mexico per month and will allow entry to 30,000 asylum seekers from each of the three countries to live and work in the US for two years. Those accepted through the application process must prove they have a US-based sponsor to support them, just as Venezuelans and Ukrainians have done through programs the Biden administration established for those countries.

NBC News was the first to report that the Biden administration was considering opening an application program for immigrants to apply to come to the US from their home countries.

Senior administration officials told reporters the program is designed to reduce the number of migrants paying smugglers and making dangerous journeys to the United States.

Immigration advocates have criticized plans to limit the number of immigrants allowed to cross the border, saying it infringes international asylum rights. In late December, the Supreme Court allowed Title 42, a Trump-era immigration policy put in place when the pandemic broke out to quickly remove asylum seekers at the border, to stay in effect for now, suspending a judge’s ruling. that would be over that.