WASHINGTON — President Biden on Thursday will announce new plans to allow up to 30,000 migrants from Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Haiti to legally enter the United States each month, while also drastically cracking down on people who seek refuge by crossing the border with Mexico, administration officials said.
The president is expected to announce the policies in remarks on Thursday morning, days before a two-day summit meeting in Mexico City. The changes come as the Biden administration is under increasing pressure to confront surges at the southern border that are overwhelming communities, nonprofit organizations and government facilities.
The situation at the border has become an increasingly difficult political problem for Mr. Biden as his adversaries seize on immigration issues. House Republicans have promised to begin investigations into the administration’s handling of the border and to start impeachment proceedings against Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary.
The new policies are an attempt by the administration to make good on the president’s promise of a humane but secure border. But they fall far short of a complete overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws, which Mr. Biden proposed to Congress on the day he took office. Officials said the president would renew his call for congressional action in his remarks on Thursday.
Under the new immigration rules, administration officials said, people in the four countries will be allowed to apply for entry to the United States using an app on their phones while still in their home countries. If they can find a sponsor — a relative, church or nonprofit group — pass a security screening and pay for the flight, they will be allowed to live and work legally in the United States.
Migrants from those countries who seek to travel to the United States by passing through Mexico would be automatically ineligible for the new program.
The administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity during a briefing before the president’s remarks, said the program would drastically lessen the need for people from those countries to make the dangerous journey from their countries and across the border with Mexico. An earlier program that applied only to Venezuelans reduced the number of migrants from that country at the border significantly, the officials said.