Message from US Asylum Seekers: Need Financial Supporters
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In the United States, safeguards are accessible to those with money or the skill to find someone to financially support them, a finding increasingly common among migrants and asylum seekers fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries.
It builds on a proposal made in October to keep 24,000 Venezuelans in the country for two years if they have sponsors, while quickly sending anyone caught crossing the border illegally back to Mexico and stripping them of the ability to apply for asylum place.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden announced a substantial extension of humanitarian parole for people from Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela and Nicaragua who register online, pay for their travel and have a two-year financial sponsor.
After the Biden administration granted humanitarian parole on Oct. 12, Maria Antonieta Diaz, a Venezuelan-born accountant and entrepreneur who has lived in the United States for more than 20 years, WhatsApped former classmates in Venezuela and asked if they needed a sponsor. She created a website, distributed a registration form, and received 40,000 applications for financial assistance, some from entire families.
According to Diaz, many Americans are reluctant to sponsor foreigners because they fear they will be responsible for all the obligations.
Diaz offered her support for a man who brought his two adult children but left his wife, a daughter and her spouse, and a 6-month-old baby because they couldn’t pay the $200 passport renewal fees.
Diaz said during a phone interview from her office in Miramar, a northwest Miami suburb, “It’s not easy, it’s not a perfect program, and not everyone will be able to benefit from it.”
According to Biden’s announcement Thursday, up to 30,000 people from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela would be eligible for parole on humanitarian grounds each month, which would allow them to work in the United States for two years. At the same time, Mexico has agreed to accept the same number of people who enter the United States illegally from those four nations, even if they seek asylum.
After the policy change in October, Venezuelan arrivals fell by 90%, ending their brief reign as the second largest nationality on the border after Mexicans. After Russia invaded, the Biden administration granted parole to 100,000 Ukrainians on similar terms. When asked specifically about restricting probation to those with money, US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas only replied that similar measures had been successful for Venezuelans and Ukrainians.
At a press conference, Mayorkas stated: “What we have observed is an enormous hunger for these authorized initiatives.” “We believe this is a just, lawful and efficient method.” Mayorkas explained that the strategy will continue as long as necessary, possibly even beyond the pandemic-era regulation known as Title 42, which banned migrants from applying for sanctuary 2.5 million times under domestic and international law to stop the spread of COVID-19. In February, the US Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments related to Title 42.
He claimed American officials are also developing a strategy whereby individuals could make appointments to apply for asylum at border crossings. Guerline Jozef, executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, argued that advising people fleeing dangerous situations in their home countries to stay there is unacceptable. She also questioned how someone in a desperate situation, traveling across America without a phone or access to an embassy, could be expected to use an app to make an appointment to apply for asylum.
Jozef told reporters on Friday: “This is completely removed from the reality of people seeking asylum.” Asylum seekers have to prove that they are being persecuted at home because of certain characteristics such as race, political opinions or religious beliefs, regardless of their financial situation Situation, according to rules that emerged from World War II and the Cold War. Some people who cross the border will later be granted asylum by US immigration courts, but not all will be eligible.
Homeland Security has the power under the Probation Policy to admit anyone “on a case-by-case basis for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.” Critics to Biden’s right have called the increase in parole a “mass amnesty,” including former top Trump aide Stephen Miller.
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