Assessing Biden’s New Immigration Policies
Last week, President Biden announced a major expansion of private migrant sponsorship programs to cover up to 30,000 entrants per month from Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, an Haiti. But, at the same time, he also imposed new restrictions on asylum seekers and other migrants crossing the southern border, including an expansion of the use of Title 42 “public health” expulsions. What is the net effect of these measures? On that key point, analysts differ.
An extensive Washington Post article concludes the new initiatives are a win for immigration restrictionists within the Administration, who want tighter border controls in order to reduce political risks arising from perceptions of chaos at the border. By contrast, Cato Institute immigration policy expert David Bier suggests the changes are more likely to expand migration than reduce it.
Both assessments make reasonable points, and people interested in these issues would do well to read both in full. On balance, I think Bier is likely closer to the truth. As he points out, the expansion of private refugee sponsorship is coupled with measures making it easier to apply for asylum at legal points of entry. The latter should at least partially offset the impact of expanded Title 42 expulsions and other restrictive measures. In combination, Bier notes, the pro-immigration measures in Biden’s new policy could amount to “one of the largest expansions in legal migration in decades.”
The addition of up to 360,000 private-sponsorship migrants from the four Latin American countries by itself amounts to more than a third of annual pre-pandemic legal migration to the United States (about 1 million). The asylum measures could add thousands more (though much depends on implementation here). Also, the Uniting for Ukraine program—which has already allowed almost
Article from Reason.com