Biden Administration to Require Migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua, and Haiti to Apply for Asylum Before Entering U.S.

( – President Biden announced Wednesday that his administration is expanding a program requiring Venezuelans to apply for asylum through a cell phone app without crossing the border to migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua, and Haiti.

Biden said that there are a number of legal pathways for migrants to come to the United States “under our existing laws.”

For example, an American citizen can sponsor an immediate family member from another country. An American company can sponsor an employee from another country. There are visas for students to study in our colleges and other special categories, and regardless of the legal pathway they process, they process them to require everyone be involved in following the law. 

That’s the notion. There are laws to get here legally. That includes another legal way for someone to come to America by seeking asylum because they’re fleeing persecution like a lot of our ancestors did as well, and for many people, that’s what’s happening on our southwest border now.

Over the past several years, thousands of people have been fleeing from Central and South America and the Caribbean countries ruled by oppressive dictators, including Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and escaping gang violence which has the same impact in Haiti.

Currently, these four countries account for most of the people traveling into Mexico to start a new life by getting to the American border and trying to cross, but instead of a safe and orderly process at the border, the patchwork system simply doesn’t work as it should. We don’t have enough asylum officers or personnel to determine whether people qualify for asylum. There’s a standard you have to meet.

However, there aren’t enough immigration judges to adjudicate their claims, the president said, and his administration is taking “several steps to stiffen enforcement for those who try to come without a legal right to stay and to put in place a faster process to decide a claim of asylum.”

“Someone says I’m coming because I’m escaping oppression. Well there’s got to be a way to determine that much quicker for people who are credibly seeking protection from persecution,” he said.

The president explained that over the summer there was “a huge spike in Venezuelans traveling through Mexico and attempting to enter the United States without going through our legal processes.”


“We responded by using and ensuring that there are two safe and lawful ways for someone leaving the country to come to America,” he said.

First, if they’re seeking asylum, they can use an app on their cell phone called CBP One to schedule an appointment at a point of entry and make their asylum claim there without crossing the border unlawfully, and have a decision determined by an asylum officer. Do they qualify?

Second, in October, we worked with the Mexican government to launch a new parole program. There’s another program … called the parole program that immediately showed results by reducing the number of people crossing the border unlawfully. The way this program works, one must have a lawful sponsor here in the United States who agrees to sponsor you to get here.

Then, that person has to undergo rigorous background checks and apply from outside the United States and not cross the border illegally. In the meantime, if they apply and their application is approved they can use the same app, the CBP One app, to present at a port of entry and be able to work in the United States legally for two years.

That’s the process, but if their application is denied, but they attempt to cross into the United States unlawfully, they will be returned back to Mexico and will not be eligible for this program after that. 

Biden said that the new process has resulted in a dramatic decrease in Venezuelans entering the country illegally.

This new process is orderly. It’s safe, and it’s humane, and it works. Since we created the new program, the number of Venezuelans trying to enter America without going through a legal process has dropped dramatically from about 1,100 per day to less than 250 per day on average. That’s 700 people on average every single day who are not crossing into America illegally.

Today I’m announcing the administration’s going to expand the parole program for people not only from Venezuela, but from Cuba, Nicaragua, and Haiti. Again, these four countries – Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Haiti – these four countries account for most of the people now traveling into Mexico to try to start a new life by trying to cross the border into the United States of America on the southwest border.

We anticipate this action’s going to substantially reduce the number of people attempting to cross the southwest border without going through a legal process. In fact, today I’m announcing that Mexico has agreed to allow the return of up to 30,000 persons per month who try, get caught and get sent back from those four countries or apprehended while attempting to get unlawfully across the border, the southwest border.

My message is this. If you’re trying to leave Cuba, Nicaragua, or Haiti, or have agreed to begin a journey to America, do not, do not just show up at the border. Stay where you are and apply legally from there. Starting today, if you don’t apply through the process, you will not be eligible for this new parole program.

Let me reiterate. You need a lawful sponsor in the United States of America, number one, and you need to undergo a rigorous background check, number two. If your application is approved and you show up at a U.S. airport or when and where directed, you have access, but if your application is denied, and you’re attempting to cross into the United States unlawfully, you will not be allowed to enter.

Biden said that despite these new requirements, Congress still needs to pass a comprehensive immigration law.


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