This month, Mr. Biden announced one of his toughest immigration measures yet: a policy that denies certain groups of migrants the ability to seek asylum if they cross the border without a permit, and instead sends them to Mexico.
These measures applied to people from Nicaragua, Venezuela, Haiti and Cuba – the four largest sources of migration.
But in a concession intended to soften the blow of the new restrictions, Mr Biden said up to 30,000 people from the four countries would be given the opportunity to legally immigrate to the United States each month. To do so, however, they would have to afford a plane ticket, find a sponsor, download an app, pass a background check, and meet other requirements.
To handle the continued influx of migrants, a 153,300-square-foot processing center with a capacity of 1,000 opened Wednesday in El Paso, Customs and Border Protection officials said. However, it was underutilized on Saturday, according to a gate officer. The new center opened at a time when the number of migrants being processed in the region has declined significantly. This week, 750 migrants were released, according to the city of El Paso, compared to 3,500 two weeks ago.
The reduced number was evident in downtown El Paso, where just a few weeks ago hundreds were milling about and sleeping on the streets near the bus station. Now that area is empty, and the center for migrants is the nearby Sacred Heart Church, where about 60 to 100 people gather daily, though numbers have been falling, said Shannon Long, a church official. “Most here have not been able to apply for asylum because of Title 42 and are not sure where to go or what to do now,” she said.
The city stopped using its convention center as a shelter last week, but still provides portable toilets and a bus near the church where men can sleep if the temperature drops (women, children, and some fathers are allowed in sleeping in the church).
Mr. Adams, a former police officer who calls himself the “future of the Democratic Party,” has become increasingly critical of the Biden administration’s handling of the migrant crisis. He has repeatedly called for significant federal funds to help the city fund housing, food and school services for migrants.