Joe Biden Brings In Restrictions On Asylum Seekers Over Immigration Concerns

President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday his intention to implement immediate and substantial restrictions on asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border.

President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday his intention to implement immediate and substantial restrictions on asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border. This move by the White House aims to address immigration concerns ahead of the November elections.

The detailed proclamation, signed by President Biden, will deny asylum to migrants when officials determine that the southern border is overwhelmed. The decision to pursue this unilateral action has been brewing for months, particularly after the collapse of a bipartisan border security agreement in Congress, which was largely rejected by Republican lawmakers influenced by former President Donald Trump.

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According to senior administration officials, the order will come into effect once the number of daily border encounters between ports of entry reaches 2,500, a threshold that is currently higher than the daily averages. These restrictions will remain in place until the daily encounter numbers drop to or below 1,500 for a sustained period.

Under this directive, migrants arriving at the border who do not express fear of returning to their home countries will face immediate removal from the United States, potentially within days or hours. Penalties for such migrants could include a five-year ban on reentry and potential criminal prosecution.

Conversely, individuals expressing fear or intent to seek asylum will undergo screening by a U.S. asylum officer, albeit at a stricter standard than before. Those who pass the screening may pursue limited forms of humanitarian protection, including protection under the U.N. Convention Against Torture.

Senior administration officials, speaking anonymously, emphasized the necessity of this order despite a consistent decline in border encounters since December. They cited concerns that the numbers, though decreasing, remain high and could surge during favorable weather conditions, which traditionally see increased border activity.

However, several questions and challenges remain regarding the implementation of President Biden’s directive. Uncertainties include the fate of migrants from countries not covered by existing agreements with Mexico, as well as logistical and legal hurdles in deporting migrants swiftly.

President Biden’s legal authority for this action is derived from Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which permits restrictions on entry deemed detrimental to national interests. While the administration faces potential legal challenges, officials express confidence in their ability to enforce the order.

The directive distinguishes itself from previous actions taken by President Trump under the same legal provisions, notably by exempting certain vulnerable groups and individuals arriving in an orderly manner, such as through appointments made via the CBP One app.

Despite these exemptions, immigration advocates remain concerned about potential backlogs and challenges in implementation, particularly amidst existing resource constraints and humanitarian responsibilities borne by border officials.