President Biden is under pressure to reduce the number of migrants entering the US illegally
By Will Grant in Mexico & Kathryn Armstrong in London, BBC News
The US has announced plans to open new migrant processing centres in Colombia and Guatemala as part of efforts to reduce undocumented immigration.
The regional facilities will process thousands of claims a month, with pathways for legal migration expanded. The number of deportations for those ineligible to be in the US will also be doubled or tripled. The US is bracing for a spike in undocumented immigration when Covid-era processing rules end in May.
The processing centres will allow successful applicants to enter the US legally and improve their access to assistance such as refugee resettlement processing and family reunification. Between 5,000 and 6,000 people are expected to be processed a month but this will be scaled up. Spain and Canada have also agreed to take a number of those applying.
US officials on Thursday also announced plans to double or triple the number of deportation flights to some countries. Those who try to reach America illegally by sea will now also not be eligible for parole, allowing them to temporarily live and work in the US.
These latest measures come weeks before the planned lifting of Title 42, which was introduced during the Trump administration and gave immigration agents the right to immediately deport undocumented migrants before they could register an asylum request.
The policy is expected to end on 11 May after being delayed.