Wed | Dec 6, 2023

Country eases entry for Caribbean refugees

Published:Tuesday | October 3, 2023 | 12:08 AM
FILE - Migrants sit in a queue outside The Roosevelt Hotel that is being used by the city as temporary housing, July 31, 2023, in New York.
FILE - Migrants sit in a queue outside The Roosevelt Hotel that is being used by the city as temporary housing, July 31, 2023, in New York.


The United States has eased the entry of refugees from the Caribbean and Latin America, even as New York and other states vehemently protest the unprecedented number of Caribbean and other nationals seeking refugee and asylum status.

Many of the asylum and refugee seekers arriving in New York from the southern border states are nationals of Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela and Guatemala.

President Joe Biden has signed the Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2024, setting the refugee admissions target at 125,000 for this upcoming fiscal year.

“By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, in accordance with Section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (the “Act”) (8 USC 1157), and after appropriate consultations with the Congress, I hereby make the following determinations and authorise the following actions,” said Biden in a White House Memorandum to Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken.

“The admission of up to 125,000 refugees to the United States during Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 is justified by humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest.”

He said the admissions numbers shall be allocated among refugees of special humanitarian concern to the United States, in accordance with the following regional allocations: Africa – 30,000-50,000; East Asia – 10,000-20,000; Europe and Central Asia – 2,000-3,000; Latin America/Caribbean – 35,000-50,000; and Near East/South Asia – 30,000-45,000.

“The above allocation ranges are intended to provide flexibility as needs arise, but the total admissions among all of the regions may not exceed 125,000,” Biden told Blinken.

“Upon providing notification to the Judiciary Committees of the Congress, you are hereby authorized to transfer unused admissions allocated to a particular region to one or more other regions, if there is a need for greater admissions for the region or regions to which the admissions are being transferred.”

Biden said, consistent with the Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962, he has determined that assistance to or on behalf of persons applying for admission to the United States, as part of the overseas refugee admissions programme, will “contribute to the foreign policy interests of the United States and designate such persons for this purpose”.

The easing of entry for Caribbean refugees comes as New York Governor Kathy Hochul late last week deployed an additional 150 members of the New York National Guard to support the ongoing response to the asylum seeker and migrant crisis.

Hochul said the state will be able to assign 250 National Guard personnel the full-time responsibilities of case management professionals.

She said this deployment, along with the US$50 million state investment in case management thus far, will help asylum seekers and migrants file the appropriate paperwork to attain legal work status and exit taxpayer-funded shelters.

“It is critical that we help secure work authorisation for asylum seekers and migrants in New York,” Governor Hochul said.