PHOENIX - The Biden Administration has a new plan to stem the number of illegal crossings at the border, pinpointing four countries in particular.
"These four countries – Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Haiti – these four countries account for most of the people traveling into Mexico to try to start a new life by crossing the border into the United States of America," said the President.
On Jan. 5, President Biden announced that the U.S. would immediately begin turning away Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans who cross the border from Mexico illegally. The new rules expand on an existing effort to stop Venezuelans attempting to enter the U.S., which began in October and led to a dramatic drop in Venezuelans coming to the southern border.
The administration, however, will accept 30,000 people from the four nations and allow them to stay in the U.S. for two years and work legally, as long as they come to the U.S. through a legal path, have eligible sponsors, and pass background checks.
The announcement was made as President Biden is planning his first trip to the U.S. - Mexico Border as Commander-In-Chief.
Arizona sheriff weighs in on new rule
On Jan. 5, we spoke with the Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels to find out what this means for the border.
"150+ countries every year that breach our Southwest border. He took four countries and said ‘I’m going to parole 30,000 a month from those four countries,' which equals 360,000 a year just from 4 different countries," said Dannels.
Dannels said the president needs to address border security.
"For two years, I've sat back and watched in my county, alone, along with working with my colleagues and sheriffs that are engaged in border security, address the tragedy within their communities," said Dannels. "What I didnt hear today was ‘we haven’t done a good job. Let's work with our locals to make it better."
Immigration law expert also weighs in
Benjamin Wiesinger, who owns Pope and Associates, has been practicing immigration law for over 15 years. He says it is too early to tell how this new border enforcement will pan out.
"Who knows how it's going to work out, as far as the new parole for some of these countries, and then the expanded use of expedited removal?" said Wiesinger. "It's kind of a sham because they've been trying to expand expedited removal for years, and people are still coming across the border illegally."
Wiesinger says as an attorney, he has seen an uptick in cases from Venezuela and Nicaragua.
"Haiti, not so much here in Arizona. Most Haitians end up in Florida or places on the East Coast," said Wiesinger.