As the White House gets ready for the end of one Trump-era border policy this spring, it is also planning to bring back a version of a much-criticized immigration program from the Obama administration.
Tuesday, the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice announced a proposed rule that would make it harder for some migrants to get asylum in the U.S. if they cross the border illegally or don’t first look for refuge in another country. In January, Vice President Joe Biden talked about the rule. After the public has a chance to comment for 30 days, it will go into effect when the Covid public health emergency ends on May 11. This is what a senior administration official told reporters.
The Title 42 public health order that is currently being used to stop most migrants at the southern border from entering ends on May 11. The rule that was announced on Tuesday would last for two years after it went into effect.
The new plan, which supporters of immigrants call the “transit ban” or the “asylum ban,” is the White House’s strictest border control measure to date. It will basically be the White House’s policy solution to the long-awaited end of Title 42. As soon as it was posted, the Biden administration got a lot of backlash from Democrats and people who support immigrants. They said that officials were continuing the Trumpian approach to border politics, which Biden had promised to stop while campaigning. Lawsuit threats also started to come up.
Andrea Flores, who used to work for Biden in the White House and now works for Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) as his chief counsel, criticized the administration for bringing back a policy that “normalizes the white nationalist belief that asylum seekers from certain countries are less deserving of humanitarian protections.”
In a call with reporters, administration officials shot down the idea that the proposed regulation was similar to the Trump transit ban. They said that it was not a “categorical ban” on asylum seekers. Instead, they said, the administration had expanded “existing legal pathways” through parole programs. They also said that the measures were not meant to stop people from asking for asylum, but to help keep things in order at the southern border.
The Biden administration has repeatedly warned about an influx of migrants because Title 42 is no longer in effect. Title 42 has been used more than 2 million times to send asylum seekers away for reasons of public health. On Tuesday, people in the administration said that the new rule will help them deal with a system that is backed up at the border and for processing asylum claims.
Critics, on the other hand, thought that these comments and the new rule only showed that the administration still sees the southern border as a political problem, not a humanitarian one, that Biden’s presidency will have to deal with.
Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president of Lutheran Immigration & Refugee Service and a former Obama official, said that the rule “reaches back into history to bring back one of the Trump administration’s most harmful and illegal anti-asylum policies.“ abandon this misguided policy now.” And Sergio Gonzalez, president of the Immigration Hub, said the move “flies in the face” of Biden’s campaign promise to “rebuild a fair, humane and orderly immigration system.”
Lee Gelernt, who is the deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project and the lead attorney in lawsuits about Title 42, told POLITICO in a statement that he is ready to go to court.
“We successfully sued to stop the Trump asylum bans and will sue again if the Biden administration enacts these anti-asylum rules,”
The rule that was proposed on Tuesday was first talked about in January, when Vice President Joe Biden announced a new border plan that included taking in 30,000 people a month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela and cracking down on those who didn’t follow the plan’s legal paths. The policy told migrants that they had to ask for asylum in their home country and sent people back to Mexico who tried to sneak into the U.S. illegally. Migrants were only allowed to come to the U.S. if they had a verified sponsor and could get there by air.
Since December, 40 percent fewer migrants and asylum seekers have tried to cross the border. The government says this is because of the new measures. On Tuesday, administration officials said they were looking into making the humanitarian parole program available to people from other countries and were “working closely with our partners across the hemisphere to encourage them to also expand their legal pathways.”
During his speech last month, Biden also talked about a new app that asylum seekers and other migrants can use to make appointments to be considered for entry into the United States. Tuesday, when the administration pushed back, supporters laughed it off.
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O’Mara Vignarajah said-
“While the Biden admin has launched a smartphone app for asylum appointments and expanded a temporary parole option for an extremely limited subset of four nationalities, these measures are no substitute for the legal right to seek asylum, regardless of manner of entry,”
Administration officials also used Tuesday’s announcement to criticize Congress. They said that because Congress hasn’t done anything, the White House has had to come up with new policies to fill the “void.”
A senior administration official said-( As Per Politico)
“To be clear, this was not our first preference or even our second. From day one, President Biden has urged Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform and border security measures to ensure orderly, safe and humane processing of migrants at our border,”
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