PHOENIX — President Joe Biden this week unveiled a new plan to address the challenges of asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border. He also announced plans to visit the border for the first time since he took office.
Biden’s plan is based on three pillars: imposing new consequences for those who enter unlawfully, expanding legal pathways to citizenship and increasing border resources.
The key focus narrows in on the countries where migrant crossings and asylum claims have skyrocketed.
“If you’re trying to leave Cuba, Nicaragua or Haiti, or have agreed to begin a journey to America, do not, do not just show up at the border,” explained Biden. “Stay where you are and apply legally from there.”
The U.S. will now accept 30,000 people a month from those countries Biden mentioned, along with Venezuelans for a two-year stay, as long as they come legally and ask for asylum from outside the U.S. There are also additional requirements.
The Biden administration also unveiled an app that can be utilized by migrants looking to schedule appointments or claim asylum from afar. That app is called CBP One.
Opposition to the president’s plan has come from both sides of the aisle and from members of Border Patrol.
Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said he is not confident in this plan.
“Hire immigration judges on a not to-exceed basis… If you hire judges say on a three year not to exceed basis, we can get rid of that backlog,” Judd told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Friday.
Some immigration advocates and attorneys also have qualms with the plan. They believe a better solution would be to reinstate the asylum process at the border by getting rid of Title 42.
The big announcement from Biden came as he also announced his first trip to the southern border scheduled for Sunday in El Paso, Texas.
This week’s “Arizona’s News Roundup” podcast also recaps the inauguration of Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs and other elected leaders.
Thursday’s inauguration was a formality after Monday’s swearing in. Joining Hobbs were Democratic Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, along with Republicans Tom Horne for the office of Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction and Treasurer Kimberly Yee.
During her first formal address as governor, Hobbs stressed she plans to work towards investing in public schools and affordable housing. She also made a promise “to hold Washington accountable for our broken immigration system and its devastating impact on families and communities.”
While recording this podcast, the federal government was still trying to select its next speaker of the House. At least 13 consecutive failed votes had occurred to select the new House leader. A majority — 218 votes — are needed to become speaker. Democrats are backing the former speaker Nancy Pelosi’s personal pick, Hakeem Jeffries.
Republican Kevin McCarthy has struggled to get full Republican support. Several names have been thrown in the pool, taking votes away from the top two candidates, Jeffries and McCarthy.
Some of Arizona’s delegation are among those voting for wild card votes, including Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar.
The U.S. House will reconvene Friday night for more rounds of voting.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Kinnerup contributed to this report.