President Joe Biden is trying to close a deal with Mexico that would see hundreds of thousands of migrants enter the country legally, while deporting non-Mexican illegal migrants en masse across the southern border.
The deal would be a breakthrough for the president, who is hoping to solve the ever-worsening border crisis ahead of the upcoming presidential election.
Biden has previously said the nation’s inability deport migrants back to their home country was a leading factor in the record numbers of illegal crossings the US has seen in recent months.
The new policy would see non-Mexican migrants who illegally cross into the US deported to Mexico. Sources said the deal has not been finalized, but that Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has been open to negotiations, according to the Washington Post.
The deal is contingent upon Biden expanding the parole process, which fast-tracks work authorization for migrants with sponsors in the US, which could create significant spikes in legal migrants.
News of the deal comes as Title 42 – the pandemic-era border policy used to expel migrants – is due to expire this spring after previously being extended.
Top immigration official from the Clinton administration, Doris Meissner, told the Washington Post the policy would be an unprecedented measure which could be a ‘game changer’ for Biden and border security.
‘I think we’re into a new era and new territory,’ Meissner said.
The new plan could bolster Department of Homeland Security police due to be announced soon, intended to create a ‘presumption against asylum eligibility’ and penalize migrants who don’t enter through the proper legal channels in the US or the countries they pass through to get here.
Sources said the deportations would be carried out through an ‘expedited removal’ process, and that Mexico would take those expelled depending on the countries they originated from.
Mexico would accept migrants native to Venezuela, Nicaragua, Haiti, and Cuba, according to the Post.
Under the plan, non-Mexican migrants who cross into the US illegally face arrest, incarceration, deportation to Mexico, a five-year ban from the US and the prospect of jail time and felony charges for a second illegal crossing.
Though Mexico has previously been resistant to receiving migrants expelled from the US – in order to avoid becoming a ‘safe third country’ – President Obrador has expressed willingness to take migrants if Mexico is able to control which nations they are from.