White House taps humanitarian groups to pick asylum-seekers to allow into US

Immigration

DALLAS (NewsNation Now) — The Biden administration has quietly tapped six global humanitarian groups to aid with deciding which migrants will be allowed to stay in the United States and who’ll have to go, according to an Associated Press exclusive released Friday.

It comes as an influx of migrants are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border and the government faces mounting pressure to lift federal pandemic-related powers that block them from seeking asylum.

U.S. border authorities encountered almost 180,000 migrants in April alone — a 20-year-high.  

A man detained by Texas Border Patrol agents told NewsNation that he’s been apprehended and deported back home to Guatemala five times. Meanwhile, a migrant shelter on the west side of Tijuana is now home to those who’ve been expelled from the United States.

“Open your hearts. Open your doors so we can come in. Most of us are hard working people,” said Sacramento Haro, a migrant from Mexico.

Migrants like Sacramento will now have their cases evaluated by the six groups. The full criteria they’re using haven’t been disclosed, but special consideration will likely be given to those in life-threatening situations and those in need of medical care.

In a statement to NewsNation, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security spokesperson said:

“As the United States continues to enforce the CDC order under its Title 42 public health authority, we are working to streamline a system for identifying and lawfully processing particularly vulnerable individuals who warrant humanitarian exceptions under the order. This humanitarian exception process involves close coordination with international and non-governmental organizations in Mexico.”

The White House aims to admit up to 250 asylum-seekers per day into the U.S. who are referred by the groups, agreeing to that system only until July 31.

Nearly 800 asylum-seekers have been let in since May 3, and those involved admit there’s already more demand than they can meet.

Critics of this process say these six humanitarian groups hold too much power. The American Civil Liberties Union has also come forward to say these groups are in a tough spot — now having to rank the desperation of people’s circumstances. Not to mention on the cusp of relentless Texas heat that many migrants will have to endure, with border authorities warning of a brutal summer ahead and the likelihood of many more migrant deaths.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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