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Mayorkas in Miami touts Biden's migrant parole, blasts Florida and other states that are suing it

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (right) alongside Miami-Dade mayor Daniella Levine Cava on Monday in Little Haiti speaking about the Biden Administration's new humanitarian parole program for Cuban, Venezuelans, Haitians and Nicaraguan.
Syra Ortiz Blanes /sortizblanes@miamiherald.com
/
Miami Herald
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (right) alongside Miami-Dade mayor Daniella Levine Cava on Monday in Little Haiti speaking about the Biden Administration's new humanitarian parole program for Cuban, Venezuelans, Haitians and Nicaraguan.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas came to Miami to tout President Biden’s new migrant parole program — and take aim at states, including Florida, that are suing the policy in court.

The humanitarian parole allows a total of 30,000 migrants a month from Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela and Nicaragua — countries buckling under dictatorship and economic crisis — to come to the U.S. for two years and work, if they have a sponsor. It also now expels migrants from those countries who enter the U.S. illegally.

Speaking at the Little Haiti Cultural Center, Mayorkas insisted that since the program was announced for Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans on Jan. 5 — after the pilot program was started for Venezuelans in October — it’s having the intended effect of discouraging often dangerous migration to the overwhelmed U.S.-Mexico border and, he said he hopes, to the Florida Keys.

“We’ve seen nearly a 90% drop in those populations … arriving irregularly at the southern border," Mayorkas said. "This is the [immigration] model we have built and we will continue to build."

But since last week it faces a court challenge from 20 Republican-led states – including Florida – that claim it “flouts” immigration law. Mayorkas blasted the lawsuit.

“We believe in the lawfulness of this program," Mayorkas said. "Why these states would oppose an enforcement program that is proving successful is beyond my comprehension.

"It is remarkable to me that [these] states will attack a solution to the [border] problem about which they complain."

Mayorkas was meeting in Miami with Haitian and Cuban community leaders about the new parole.

He said that while Cuba recently agreed to resume receiving deportation flights carrying Cuban migrants who are being expelled, those have not started yet.

Mayorkas added that he's aware local and state agencies are being stretched thin by the recent flood of seafaring migrants from Cuba and Haiti to the Florida Keys.

"We have been responding," he said. "I spoke with one of the officials [there] just last week ... and we have surged U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection resources to make sure that [migrants] do not take to the seas.

"We have seen too much tragedy in ... the Atlantic."

Tim Padgett is the Americas Editor for WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. Contact Tim at tpadgett@wlrnnews.org
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