The Biden administration has secretly asked six groups to select migrants who should be permitted to stay in the U.S. rather than being expelled from the country under pandemic-related concerns.
The Biden administration has quietly tasked six humanitarian groups with recommending which migrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. instead of being rapidly expelled from the country under federal pandemic-related powers.https://t.co/vP5iu9OSRa
— The New Arab (@The_NewArab) June 4, 2021
The chosen groups would decide which migrants are “most vulnerable” in Mexico. However, their criteria for selection were not announced in public.
This move comes as massive numbers of migrants are crossing the border. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is facing intense pressure to remove the public health powers established by Trump and retained by Biden during the pandemic.
There were several members of the group who talked to the media about the “criteria.” They also gave more details of the system, which the Biden administration kept silent about.
Biden administration to admit 250 asylum seekers per day
Accordingly, the Biden administration aims to admit 250 asylum-seekers per day. They will come from those referred by the groups.
Moreover, the system will be in place until July 31. By then, the group hopes that the Biden administration already lifts the public health rules, which would allow more people in. However, Biden’s team has not committed to this move.
The groups tapped by the Biden administration were not publicly identified. Except for International Rescue Committee, a global relief organization.
In late March, a similar yet separate system led by the American Civil Liberties Unions allows 35 families every day into the United States. The families are sent to communities near the border. This system, compared to the previous one, has no end date.
“Imperfect transition” from Title 42
Meanwhile, participating organizations described these systems as an “imperfect transition” from Title 42 authority.
Title 42 was a public health law that the former administration used in March 2020 to end the asylum at the Mexican border.
However, with the COVID-19 vaccination rate rising in the U.S., the Biden administration is having difficulty justifying the migrants on public health grounds. Moreover, Biden’s team is also facing demands from his party and the U.N. refugee agency to end it.
Meanwhile, critics said that the new selection system vested so much power in these organizations. These activities are created in secrecy without explaining how these six groups were chosen.
Moreover, critics also mentioned that there is no assurance that the people chosen are the most deserving migrants.
Some are concerned that making the system public might storm the offices with asylum-seekers (which could overwhelm staffers), exposing them to threats and physical attacks from criminals.
The groups were formed after the U.S. asked the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees office in Mexico to name organizations with deep experience and capacity in Mexico.
A spokeswoman for the U.N. office said that they had “long relationships” with these groups. They added that they are “trusted partners.”