President Joe Biden has already faced widespread criticism for his lenient stance on illegal immigration, but his administration now appears poised to take those policies even further.
According to reports, certain Central American migrants currently residing in the U.S. with legal status or a pending asylum claim will be able to petition for their children to join them.
“A substantial increase”
As Breitbart explained, such family unification opportunities will take place at the expense of U.S. taxpayers.
The Biden administration has essentially revived and expanded the Central American Minors program first launched under former President Barack Obama and ended by former President Donald Trump. It was initially sold as a method for reducing illegal immigration at the border by providing additional pathways for legal entry.
Biden first signaled the revival of the program in March, as the Los Angeles Times reported at the time.
That report noted that the result would likely mean a boost to the number of Central American minors — particularly from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras — rejoining family members in the U.S. from several hundred per year to potentially tens of thousands.
“It could be a substantial increase,” said one unnamed administration official. “And we hope it will be.”
“The expanded Biden version”
In reality, the number could be in the hundreds of thousands if not higher. The official estimated that there could be roughly 100,000 newly eligible migrants representing a parent or legal guardian with some variation of legal immigration status.
The Times report appeared to be confirmed on Tuesday with the release of a joint statement by Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
“Eligibility to petition will now be extended to include legal guardians (in addition to parents) who are in the United States pursuant to any of the following qualifying categories: lawful permanent residence; temporary protected status; parole; deferred action; deferred enforced departure; or withholding of removal,” the officials confirmed.
Blinken and Mayorkas went on to note that “this expansion of eligibility will now include certain U.S.-based parents or legal guardians who have a pending asylum application or a pending U visa petition filed before May 15, 2021,” allowing them “to petition for access to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program on behalf of their children who are nationals of El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras for potential resettlement in the United States.”
In her report on the development, Nayla Rush of the Center for Immigration Studies compared the revived program to the Obama-era effort, writing: “The expanded Biden version will have more outreach, but the rationale is the same: Don’t come here illegally because we will come get you in legally.”