The Biden administration's move to tighten border security by ousting some Venezuelans is a "thin smokescreen" that won't make much of a dent in the migrant surge, critics say.
In remarks to the Washington Times, former Trump administration policy adviser Stephen Miller predicted many Venezuelans who try to jump the border will succeed.
"This is another pathetic misdirection from the open borders zealots running the Biden administration," Miller told the news outlet.
"Between backdoor parole, exempt demographics, arbitrary caps, asylum fraud, and the masses of got-aways [because they aren't going back to Venezuela], it's just a thin smokescreen for yet more open borders."
With migrants from Venezuela becoming a leading source of illegal crossings at the border, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas outlined an avenue for 24,000 Venezuelans to enter the U.S. legally on a short-term basis while pushing other Venezuelans back to Mexico.
Mayorkas didn't say what authority he was using, but immigrant rights groups said it was Title 42, a pandemic-era policy pioneered by former President Donald Trump, the Washington Times reported.
That has triggered the rage of the ACLU, which is trying to end Title 42, an effort that could render the administration's proposal useless.
"People have a right to seek asylum — regardless of where they came from, how they arrive in the United States, and whether or not they have family here," American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Lee Gelernt told The Associated Press.
The National Border Patrol Council said agents are aware Mexico has capped the number of Venezuelans it will take back, asserting the number is "a small percentage of what's actually coming in."
"Basically a PR stunt," the council tweeted.
The 24,000 allowance is a fraction of the total flow, the Washington Times reported.
Border Patrol agents nabbed more than 150,000 Venezuelans who were in the U.S. illegally from Oct. 1, 2021 through Aug. 31, the news outlet reported.
Embracing expulsions would mark a significant symbolic reversal for the Biden administration amid its court fights to end Title 42.
But Homeland Security is arguing the Venezuelan program will help tamp down illegal crossings, and said it would look to expand it to people of other nationalities, the news outlet reported.
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