By Syra Ortiz-Blanes
“Cindy Woods, National Policy Counsel at Americans for Immigrant Justice, told the Miami Herald that these are ‘positive changes for these two processes that have not been working.’
‘This is allowing more flexibility for folks who might have already left out of fear and insecurity to be able to try and access this process from a different country,’ Woods said.
Invitations have not been sent out for either the Cuban or Haitian family reunification programs since 2016, according to the Homeland Security notices from Thursday.[…] While Woods said Thursday’s announcement was welcome, she believes there may still be challenges in accessing the program, such as passport requirements so beneficiaries can travel to the U.S. Demand for passports skyrocketed and created long lines in Port-au-Prince after the announcement of another parole program for Haitian nationals earlier this year.
The attorney also said that access to the internet and smartphones could also be ‘extremely difficult’ for some applicants. The new process also requires that applicants use an application called CBP One, which migrants have said can be glitchy.
Woods said that the Biden administration was presenting a ‘false dichotomy’ because it has simultaneously created a series of new paroles and family reunification programs, while imposing a restrictive asylum policy at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Immigration and civil-rights groups have condemned the Biden policy, describing it as an ‘asylum ban’ and likening it to Trump-era measures. Biden officials have rejected these comparisons, with Homeland Security saying that the previous administration had set ‘categorical bars,’ on asylum eligibility. There is ongoing federal litigation over the policy.
‘Presenting these reunification processes as alternative options does not paint a real picture of what’s happening. A lot of folks won’t be eligible for these processes,’ Woods said. ‘People fleeing persecution have sought to enter the U.S. in other manners out of necessity. The carrot and stick approach doesn’t work if only a limited number of people have access to the carrot.’”