Migrants Face Navigating Bureaucracy After a Hard Journey
The two options to gain entry to the United States, where migrants can then start the process to apply for asylum, are confusing. Migrants and advocates say the U.S. government has yet to clearly communicate the new policies to migrants.
In some cases, migrants do not know about either option; if they do, they do not know whether they are eligible. If a migrant does not have a sponsor lined up in the United States to support them for the two-year parole, then the exemption to Title 42 is the better option for them. And for migrants who have been waiting in Mexico for months in anticipation of the end of Title 42, applying for that exemption can seem to be the fastest way to get to the United States.
In the past two years in particular, border policies have not been enforced consistently, leading to more confusion about who is allowed to seek refuge in the country. The U.S. immigration system has long been a maze of benefits and backlogs, and it worsens each year Congress neglects to update decades-old laws.
For years, foreigners have faced dwindling legal options to enter the United States. So the creation of a legal pathway with a two-year parole in the U.S. for migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela — who have been fleeing authoritarian and unstable governments in increasing numbers — was a welcome development for human rights advocates. But they argue that such options should be available to all migrants in need.
“It is a short-term solution, and it smacks of politics more than a solution that gets to the root of the problem,” said Ana Lorena Delgadillo, the director of the migrant-advocacy nonprofit Foundation for Justice, which is based on Mexico. She and others argue that a lack of legal pathways to the United States will continue to drive migrants to risk their lives and enter illegally.
Still, immigration advocates advise that the two-year parole is a better choice for asylum seekers than the exemption to the public health rule because it provides them with stability in the United States and permission to work. Most migrants who are given exemptions to the public health rule are recorded as entering the country illegally and have to wait for years to appear in immigration court.
Applying for the two-year parole begins with a sponsor in the United States who commits to providing financial support to the applicant. Once the government approves the sponsor, the applicant submits additional information and must have official travel documents like a visa or a passport to travel to the United States.