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Biden Seeks to Curb Flow of Migrants From Nicaragua With New Restrictions

U.S.Biden Seeks to Curb Flow of Migrants From Nicaragua With New Restrictions

The Biden administration will issue visa restrictions against 250 people and sanctions against three organizations that support the Nicaraguan government, whose authoritarian leader officials say has profited off people trying to reach the United States.

Senior administration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity on Wednesday to preview the plans, said that the Nicaraguan government, led by President Daniel Ortega, had created a system to profit from large numbers of migrants by charging them visa fees upon arrival in the country’s airports and requiring them to leave Nicaragua within 96 hours.

The Biden administration will also issue a policy alert to private companies, including airlines, of concerns about irregular immigration patterns and potential human rights abuses stemming from those practices. Officials said no efforts to enforce the policy were underway.

The announcement reflected a growing concern among President Biden and his advisers that a surge of undocumented immigrants into the United States is a growing threat to his re-election campaign. It also showed that the administration has limited options to stem the flow of immigration from troubled countries whose citizens are searching for a better life in the United States.

Nicaragua has become an increasingly popular hub for migrants from Latin America and Africa trying to reach the United States. The visa-selling practice, administration officials say, has led to human rights abuses and created opportunities for traffickers and smugglers, who prey on people rushed through the country with eventual hopes of reaching the southwestern border of the United States.

The State Department will issue visa restrictions to 250 people, a group that includes government workers and family members of people tied to the Ortega administration. The Treasury Department will issue sanctions against three entities financially supporting the Nicaraguan government, including a Russian military training center that one official said “supports repressive activities by the Nicaraguan national police to prosecute political opposition.”

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