Bloomberg Línea — US President Joe Biden’s administration announced new border control measures on Tuesday aimed at penalizing asylum seekers who illegally cross the border or fail to apply for protection in other nations through which they transit on their way to the United States.
This proposal comes amid a border crisis in the southern United States, with Washington claiming that the number of immigrants trying to enter the country has increased up to fourfold.
A recent Gallup poll indicated that 40% of US adults are dissatisfied with immigration levels.
The new regulations would come into effect in May and would remain in effect for two years. Title 42, which currently restricts the entry of immigrants under the cover of the Covid-19 health crisis, is expected to expire in March.
The new immigration regulations:
- All persons who enter illegally will be ineligible for asylum
- Those who cross the border will be deported even if they express fear of harm
- The rule will reduce the number of people allowed to enter the US to await a visa in US immigration courts
- The proposals are designed to encourage migrants to avail themselves of legal, safe and orderly pathways to enter the United States, and seek to encourage migrants to seek asylum or other protection in the countries through which they travel, thereby reducing reliance on human-smuggling networks
- An asylum seeker could overcome ineligibility by demonstrating that he or she was denied safe haven in Mexico or another nation through which he or she traveled prior to arriving on US soil
- The rule will be subject to a 30-day public comment period before taking effect in May.
Opposition to the plan
Biden’s plan has met with opposition, however.
According to Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, the proposed rule resurrects “one of the Trump administration’s most harmful and illegal anti-asylum policies,” she told The Washington Post, adding, “it flagrantly violates President Biden’s own campaign promises to restore asylum.”
Alianza Americas and MomsRising, pro-immigrant organizations with a presence in the Washington, DC metro area, said the rule is dangerous and harmful.
“This proposal represents a significant setback by the Biden administration and an abuse of the legal system to continue to deny protection to individuals and families who take the dangerous route through the Central America-Mexico corridor to reach the US and seek asylum.”
MomsRising, made up of more than one million mothers, said the measure would “punish asylum seekers” and that “requiring persecuted people to first seek protection in countries without functioning asylum systems of their own is a ridiculous and life-threatening proposal.”
Migrant rights advocates and some members of the US Democratic Party have criticized the administration for maintaining current policies as being similar to proposals by hard-line advisors from the previous administration.
Although Biden administration officials have said that current immigration policies are not a resurrection of those proposed by Trump, some civil groups have called on the current administration not to toughen its stance against migrants fleeing violence in their home countries.
The National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) is preparing to confront the regulations in US courts, along with other organizations, according to local media reports.