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US finalizes asylum ban to boost border deportations

EL PASO, Texas – The Biden administration has finalized a sweeping restriction on asylum that it plans to use to speed up deportations of immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border after the Title 42 pandemic. Emergency Policy Sunset Thursday, according to internal documents obtained by CBS News.

Hundreds of U.S. asylum officials were trained on how to implement the restrictions on Tuesday, and the regulation is expected to be released on Wednesday less than 48 hours before the expiration of Title 42, according to people familiar with the effort who requested anonymity to discuss the discussions.

The regulation, which is expected to be challenged in federal court, would be a dramatic change in asylum policy, disqualifying migrants from US protection if they fail to request refugee status in another country, such as Mexico, on their journey to the southern border.


Immigrants cross the banks of the Rio Grande to be processed by the El Paso Sector of the Texas Border Patrol after crossing from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on May 9, 2023.

Herica Martinez/AFP via Getty Images

The rule also represents a major pivot for President Biden, a Democrat who campaigned on restoring access to the U.S. asylum system after numerous Trump administration rules made it more difficult for immigrants to seek asylum on American soil. Indeed, the regulation to be published on Wednesday resembles a Trump-era policy in federal courts that Mr. Biden overturned in 2020.

If upheld, the Biden administration’s ruling would cement a growing bipartisan rejection of the political asylum law, which Congress created in 1980 to conform to international treaties that bar countries from taking refugees back to places where they could be persecuted. As the US did to some Jews. Escape from Nazi Germany.

The years-long shift has intensified recently, as historically high levels of immigrant arrivals have further strained a heavily backlogged asylum system, overwhelmed border communities and created political liabilities for Mr. Biden ahead of his re-election bid.

Under the rules, migrants crossing the southern border without authorization will be deemed ineligible for asylum unless they can prove they have previously requested protection in a third country. In effect, it would disqualify most non-Mexican immigrants who enter the United States through ports of entry from asylum.

Immigrants who secure an appointment to enter the United States Under a mobile app-driven system will not be barred from asylum under the policy. This rule will also not apply to unaccompanied children.

According to internal training documents, only in “exceptionally compelling circumstances” would migrants be able to cross the asylum bar of the rule. These include migrants with “acute medical emergencies”, who face “imminent and extreme threats” in Mexico and victims of “a serious form of human trafficking”.

To avoid deportation and deportation from the United States for five years, those who do not qualify for a waiver must pass an interview with higher standards designed to lead to more rejections than the traditional “credible fear” interview, according to the training. Materials

The ban is central to the Biden administration’s efforts to blunt a potentially historic surge in the number of migrants crossing the US-Mexico border when Title 42 deportations stop at midnight Thursday. Unauthorized border arrivals are already up, with the Border Patrol apprehending an average of more than 8,700 migrants over a three-day period this past week, up from an average of 5,200 in March.

Although Title 42 allowed US border officials to cite public health concerns to deport hundreds of thousands of immigrants without hearing their asylum claims, the new rule is in many ways a draconian policy. Because immigrants deported under Title 42 did not face immigration or criminal penalties, the measure encouraged some to make repeated attempts to cross the border.

But those who cannot prove they qualify for an exemption from the rules finalized this week face quick deportation to Mexico or their home country under a process known as expedited removal — as well as five years of deportation from the United States. They could face criminal charges and jail time if they try to re-enter the United States after being deported, the Biden administration has warned.

Hundreds of Venezuelan migrants cross the border into the United States from Mexico

Hundreds of Venezuelan migrants try to cross the border on foot from Mexico into the United States on April 25, 2023 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. About 4,000 people left Chiapas City on April 23 to reach the United States.

David Peinado/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Biden administration officials said the asylum ban was not their first or second “choice,” but justified the move by citing record levels of migrant apprehensions reported by U.S. border agents over the past two years. Without the rules, the administration said, the number of immigrants crossing the southern border every day after Title 42 ends could reach 13,000.

The administration also argued that the rule would encourage immigrants to enter the country legally, through Phone app It allows asylum seekers in Mexico to request entry to the United States and is a sponsorship initiative allows up to 30,000 Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans fly to the US each month with American sponsors.

While the partial asylum ban has received support from some moderate Democrats, it has been strongly rejected by advocates, progressives and former Biden officials, who argue that the policy ignores US asylum laws, under which immigrants have the right to request asylum on American soil, regardless of how they arrived in the country. has entered

“It’s a profound change for a Democratic president to enact new restrictions on asylum seekers,” said Andrea Flores, who served as a White House border official during the first year of the Biden administration. “This is evidence that the right-wing attacks on black and brown asylum seekers over the past decade have significantly undermined the Democratic Party’s commitment to sheltering people fleeing oppression and persecution.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, which convinced a federal court to block the Trump administration’s “transit ban” on asylum, has vowed to sue the Biden administration’s rule.

“We will be suing, just as we did under Trump,” Lee Gellert, the ACLU’s top immigration lawyer, told CBS News on Tuesday. “The basic illegality is the same.”

During one of the 2020 presidential debates, Mr. Biden slammed former President Donald Trump for being “the first president in the history of the United States” to declare that “anyone who seeks asylum has to do it in another country.”

But soon after Mr. Biden took office, his administration considered doing just that amid an increase in border crossings. Regulations, however, was rejected The measure could be struck down in court in 2021 amid opposition from some employers and the determination of the White House’s top lawyer.

The Biden administration has strongly denied that the regulation finalized this week is similar to the Trump-era asylum ban, arguing that its approach is different because it contains broad exemptions to restrictions and is being linked to expanded channels for immigrants to enter the United States with legal permission. .

More Camilo Montoya-Galvez


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