For the first time, more migrants are arriving to the U.S. southern border from countries other than the traditional sources of Mexico and Central America's Northern Triangle, a factor that complicates the Biden administration's immigrant enforcement, CNN reports. This trend has sharply increased over the past two years, with more migrants from such places as Cuba, Colombia, Nicaragua and Venezuela. The surplus of nationalities at the border "makes border enforcement all the more complicated," said Doris Meissner, who directs immigration policy work at the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute in Washington. Most of the border polices are designed with Mexican migrants in mind, making it considerably more difficult to deport people from other countries.
A number of factors, many of them economic, are likely at play. Deteriorating economic conditions, food shortages and limited access to health care are increasingly pushing Venezuelans to leave, and a growing Venezuelan community in the United States is also a draw, Meissner says. For Colombians and Nicaraguans, economic instability — compounded by the pandemic — has been the main driver of migration, she says, but politics are also playing a role. "Rising repression under the Ortega regime, especially during the recent presidential election, has cemented the belief among many Nicaraguans that the country's political turmoil will not be resolved in the short term," Meissner says. David Bier, the associate director of immigration studies at the Cato Institute, said the Biden administration needs different responses to help combat the varying nationalities at the border, as the old policies are no longer effective. "The Biden administration can't respond to this new reality with the same old playbook," he said on Twitter.