The United States could bar tens of thousands of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border from claiming asylum under a proposal unveiled on Tuesday that would be the most wide-ranging attempt yet by U.S. President Joe Biden`s administration to deter unauthorized crossings.
Under the new rules, migrants who do not schedule an appointment at a U.S. border port of entry or use humanitarian programs available to certain nationalities would be ineligible for asylum except in certain cases. They must also first seek and be denied protection in countries they pass through to be able to claim asylum once in the United States.
Reuters first reported details of the measure, which was posted online on Tuesday and will be subject to a 30-day public comment period before being reviewed for final publication.
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Biden, a Democrat who took office in 2021 and is expected to seek re-election in 2024, initially pledged to restore asylum access that was curtailed under his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump. But supporters and some other Democrats have criticized him for increasingly embracing Trump-style restrictions as he struggles to cope with the arrival of record numbers of immigrants. .
Biden’s plan to ban certain asylum seekers mirrors similar efforts under Trump, which were blocked by federal courts and met with similar opposition.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has vowed to fight Biden’s rule in court, comparing it to Trump’s restrictions, which activists have called a “pass-through ban.”
Lee Gellert, his ACLU attorney who argued the Trump-era lawsuit, said, “We will sue to block President Trump’s ban, and we will sue again if the Biden administration implements that plan.” Let’s go,” he said.
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Under regulations jointly issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), unaccompanied minors are exempt, but family members and single adults are subject to restrictions. This measure is temporary and limited to two years with the possibility of extension.
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Karen Mussaro, director of the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at the University of California, San Francisco School of Law, said Biden’s proposal ignores the precarious conditions and limited capacity of transit countries where migrants are expected to seek shelter. said that
“This is a terrifying example of an attempt to violate national and international legal obligations,” she said.
Last year, the Biden administration began discussing bans and other Trump-style measures to reduce illegal crossings when COVID-era restrictions that allowed many immigrants to return to Mexico ended. The administration is pushing for tougher asylum rules as COVID restrictions, known as Title 42, are set to end on June 11.
“Without meaningful changes to policy, there could be an increase, and potentially a dramatic increase, in border encounters,” said one of the proposed rules after Title 42 was lifted. read the text. , in the absence of COVID restrictions, averages about 5,000 in January.
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A Biden administration official, who declined to be named, told reporters that the rule “is intended to fill the void that Congress has left by taking no action” to overhaul immigration laws or increase border security funding.
Mexican authorities did not respond to requests for comment.
Biden expanded Title 42 in January to expel additional nationalities while allowing some people from those countries to apply for legal entry by air via humanitarian parole if they have U.S. sponsors. The parole program, for up to 30,000 Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan migrants per month, would be one of the legal pathways the administration says would allow asylum-seekers to circumvent the proposed restrictions.
Separately, migrants seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border could schedule an appointment at a U.S. land port of entry using an app called CBP One. But since the CBP One initiative launched in January, migrants say the slots filled up quickly.
(Reporting by Ted Hesson, Washington; additional reporting by Kristina Cooke, San Francisco, Daina Solomon, Mexico City, and Kanishka Singh, Washington; Editing by Mica Rosenberg, Matthew Lewis, Andrea Ricciand Deepa Babington)