Biden turning to Trump-era rule to expel Venezuelan migrants

Two years ago, candidate Joe Biden loudly denounced President Donald Trump for immigration policies that inflicted “cruelty and exclusion at every turn,” including toward those fleeing the “brutal” government of socialist Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, Associated Press reported.

Now, with increasing numbers of Venezuelansarriving at the U.S.-Mexico border as the Nov. 8 election nears, Biden has turned to an unlikely source for a solution: his predecessor’s playbook.

Biden last week invoked a Trump-era ruleknown as Title 42 — which Biden’s own Justice Department is fighting in court — to deny Venezuelans fleeing their crisis-torn country the chance to request asylum at the border.

The rule, first invoked by Trump in 2020, uses emergency public health authority to allow the United States to keep migrants from seeking asylum at the border, based on the need to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Under the new Biden administration policy, Venezuelans who walk or swim across America’s southern border will be expelled and any Venezuelan who illegally enters Mexico or Panama will be ineligible to come to the United States. But as many as 24,000 Venezuelans will be accepted at U.S. airports, similar to how Ukrainians have been admitted since Russia’s invasion in February.

Mexico has insisted that the U.S. admit one Venezuelan on humanitarian parole for each Venezuelan it expels to Mexico, according to a Mexican official who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke condition of anonymity. So if the Biden administration paroles 24,000 Venezuelans to the U.S., Mexico would take no more than 24,000 Venezuelans expelled from the U.S.

The Biden policy marks an abrupt turn for the White House, which just weeks ago was lambasting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, both Republicans, for putting Venezuelan migrants “fleeing political persecution” on buses and planes to Democratic strongholds.

“These were children, they were moms, they were fleeing communism,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at the time.

Biden’s new policy has drawn swift criticism from immigrant advocates, many of them quick to point out the Trump parallels.

“Rather than restore the right to asylum decimated by the Trump administration … the Biden administration has dangerously embraced the failures of the past and expanded upon them by explicitly enabling expulsions of Venezuelan migrants,” said Jennifer Nagda, policy director of the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights.

The administration says the policy is aimed at ensuring a “lawful and orderly” way for Venezuelans to enter the U.S.

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