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Biden enacts sweeping executive action to restrict Asylum



Biden enacts sweeping executive action to restrict Asylum

In a decisive move aimed at curbing illegal immigration, President Joe Biden announced a new executive action on Tuesday, June 4, that will severely limit access to asylum for migrants crossing the US-Mexico border unlawfully.

This measure comes as Biden seeks to address ongoing border challenges and gain the upper hand on immigration ahead of the first presidential debate.

The executive action marks a significant shift in US immigration policy, departing from decades-long protocols by barring migrants who cross the border illegally from seeking asylum once a daily threshold is met.

This threshold was surpassed on Monday, with border authorities encountering around 3,500 migrants, according to a Homeland Security official. Migrants who do not meet certain exemptions will now be turned back to Mexico or returned to their countries of origin.

In his speech from the White House, Biden criticized Republicans in Congress for blocking a bipartisan border deal, which he argued left him no choice but to take unilateral action.

“I’m moving past Republican obstruction and using the executive authorities available to me as president to do what I can on my own to address the border,” he stated.

The executive action exempts unaccompanied children, victims of severe trafficking, and those with acute medical emergencies or facing imminent and extreme threats to life and safety. However, for the majority of migrants, this new rule represents a formidable barrier to seeking refuge in the United States.

Impact on the United States and Asylum Seekers

The Biden administration’s decision is expected to have profound implications both domestically and internationally. For the US, this move is seen as an attempt to manage the influx of migrants at the southern border, which has posed a significant challenge. Homeland Security officials have reported arresting just under 4,000 migrants daily, highlighting the urgent need for action.

However, the policy shift has drawn criticism from various quarters. Progressive groups and immigrant advocates have voiced concerns that the new restrictions are reminiscent of measures implemented under former President Donald Trump, which were widely criticized for their harshness. Critics argue that the executive action undermines America’s longstanding commitment to providing refuge to those fleeing persecution and danger.

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Biden, responding to these criticisms, emphasized the necessity of the action in light of Congressional inaction.

“Frankly, I would have preferred to address this issue through bipartisan legislation because that’s the only way to actually get the kind of system we have now that’s broken, fixed,” he said.

The president also took the opportunity to differentiate his approach from that of Trump, vowing never to demonize immigrants or employ similarly extreme measures.

“For those who say the steps I’ve taken are too strict, I say to you that be patient and the good will of the American people is wearing thin right now. Doing nothing is not an option. We have to act. We must act consistent with both our law and our values,” Biden asserted, underscoring his commitment to balancing enforcement with humanitarian values.

Repercussions for Asylum Seekers

For asylum seekers, particularly those fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries, the new executive action represents a significant obstacle. Many migrants undertake perilous journeys with the hope of finding safety and opportunity in the United States. The new restrictions could force them to seek refuge elsewhere or remain in dangerous conditions.

The administration’s policy is likely to face legal challenges and further scrutiny from human rights organizations, which may argue that it contravenes international asylum norms and obligations.