HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — As Title 42 comes to an end, President Joe Biden is taking action on border security by opening new pathways, for those who are seeking asylum in the United States.
However, will the centers stop the flow of migrants headed to the border before the deadline?
“We were really excited to be able to announce this is something that we view as historic. It’s never been done before,” said Katie Tobin, Special Assistant to the President for Transborder Security.
On Thursday, Biden announced plans to open new migration centers in Guatemala and Colombia for asylum seekers heading to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Tobin hopes the centers will slow down the surge of migrants.
It is unclear whether the processing centers and other measures, including expedited processing for asylum seekers and crackdowns on human smuggling networks, will do much to slow the tide of migrants fleeing from countries marred by political and economic strife.
“This is, you know, something that we’ve been in close discussions with our partners in the region for several weeks now, and grateful to Colombia and Guatemala for stepping up and willing to host,” Tobin said.
The Biden administration is trying to slow down the thousands of people who are making the dangerous journey from Central America to the United States before the Title 42 restrictions end on May 11.
“We want it to be very easy for people to access the centers. We don’t want people to have to travel far to hire smugglers to put themselves in danger. So the idea is to bring ourselves closer to the people and make it easier for them to access legal pathways to our countries,” Tobin added.
As Title 42 ends, the pre-pandemic U.S. regulations are coming back such as penalties for those who are expelled from the U.S. for entering illegally.
“Our normal immigration laws come with more severe penalties for unlawful crossing of our border than Title 42,” Tobin said.
She said hundreds of new pathways for legal citizenship are becoming available for those who are seeking asylum in the U.S.
“Come through one of our legal pathways, we’re setting up these centers. We are opening appointments at ports of entry for people that want to apply for asylum at our land ports. But it’s you know, don’t take the dangerous journey. It’s really not in your interest,” Tobin said.
The administration also plans to screen migrants seeking asylum at the border much quicker and deport those not qualified.