The program, which allows families from Central America to reunite, was discontinued by the Trump administration in 2017.
President Joe Biden has decided to reopen the program for receiving minors from three Central American countries, while the southern border of the United States is experiencing an influx of illegal migrants trying to enter the United States.
Roberta Jacobson, the White House coordinator for border policy, told reporters on Wednesday about the program’s relaunch for underage migrants from Central America. The program was launched by the Obama administration and operated between 2014 and 2017. The initiative saved children from violence from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras whose parents legally live in the United States – participants in the program applied for family reunification while in their home country.
The Donald Trump administration shut down the program in 2017. Now Joe Biden has decided to renew it to create a “more humane” situation on the border with Mexico.
US authorities urge people not to cross the border illegally, warning that they will be sent back to Mexico. Biden did not repeal the rule introduced by Trump that allows border guards to immediately expel most illegal migrants from the country, except for minor children whose parents do not accompany them.
“The border is closed,” Roberta Jacobson said during a press briefing. However, at the same time, as reported by the agency Reuters, in February, more than 100 thousand people tried to illegally cross the border of Mexico with the United States, including about 9,5 thousand unaccompanied minors.
Jacobson blamed the surge in the number of migrants on smugglers who smuggle people into the United States, who mislead migrants by telling them that the border is supposedly open.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s immigration team briefed the president on the outcome of their trip to the Mexican border and discussed with him the possibility of speeding up legal procedures to quickly send children who have crossed the border to their sponsors – families, and relatives already in the United States.
A State Department official said that the program for minors from Central America would begin operating on March 15. To date, this program has allowed reuniting almost 5 thousand families.