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Biden Blasted for ‘Un-American’ Border Policy


Critics from the president’s own party say the proposal is eerily similar to Trump-era immigration restrictions.

President Joe Biden is again facing pressure from members of his own party after announcing a new border rule that would limit options for asylum seekers, which critics say harkens back to the harsh immigration restrictions of the Donald Trump administration.

Several Democratic senators and representatives – along with civil rights and immigration advocates – have levied criticism at the president for issuing a proposed rule on Tuesday through the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice that would subject migrants who travel through third countries to the U.S. border to a “rebuttable presumption of asylum ineligibility” unless they meet specified exceptions. Those people, assuming they didn’t seek protection in the countries they traveled through, would also see “prompt removal” and a five-year ban on reentry.

Detractors say the proposal is eerily similar to the Trump administration’s controversial “transit ban” policy, which the American Civil Liberties Union has noted that Biden pledged to end when he was campaigning for president. The ACLU described the new rule as the “latest in a series of attacks on the fundamental right to seek safety in the U.S.” and noted that they successfully fought Trump’s comparable ban in court.

The announcement release notes that the public will have 30 days to comment on the proposal and, if finalized, the rule would only be in effect for two years starting around the time of the anticipated lifting of Title 42, another Trump-era policy designed to rapidly expel migrants from the border. There are also exceptions for those experiencing a medical emergency or facing “imminent and extreme” threats to life.

Regardless, immigration advocacy groups – such as the National Immigration Forum and the International Rescue Committee – have asked Biden to change course, saying the rule would undermine refugee protection efforts and risk returning asylum-seekers to dangerous situations.

Prominent Democrats have joined the chorus.

“We are deeply disappointed that the Administration has chosen to move forward with publishing this proposed rule, which only perpetuates the harmful myth that asylum seekers are a threat to this nation,” reads a statement signed by four Democrats: Sen. Bob Menendez and Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sen. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico and Sen. Alex Padilla of California. “We urge President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas to reverse course and pave a better path forward that protects the right to asylum while addressing the real operational challenges at our Southern Border.”

Democratic Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts has similarly condemned the Department of Homeland Security’s use of an app to assist potential migrants. The CBP One app has reportedly seen technological issues since its launch. Nevertheless, the department is urging migrants to use the app from their home countries to seek lawful entry into the U.S. and avoid the consequences set out in the proposed transit rule.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington and Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York issued a joint statement similar to that of the four Democratic senators, noting that the right to seek asylum is a “bedrock principle protected by federal law and should never be violated.” California Rep. Lou Correa, another Democrat, described the proposal as “unconscionable, unacceptable and un-American.”

Republicans, on the other hand – the most ardent critics of Biden’s border policies – have been largely silent since the rule was announced.

The administration has pointed to the absence of immigration action from Congress in defense of its recent policies. Officials argue, too, that they are working, at least when it comes to stemming the influx of attempted border crossings. The Department of Homeland Security noted preliminary findings last month showing that encounters of Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans crossing unlawfully at the southwest border had plummeted 97% in January when compared to December. The department had announced an expanded legal pathway for migrants from those four countries earlier in the year, but it was coupled with a linked process to increase the use of “expedited removal” for illegal immigration.

But with the swift backlash and threats of lawsuits, Biden has a difficult road ahead for his latest immigration proposal.

“The Biden administration is between a rock and a hard place,” Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law practice at Cornell Law School, said in a statement. “Congress has failed to reform our broken immigration system, and more and more people are attempting to enter the United States for a variety of reasons, including persecution, gang violence, and climate change. The Biden administration hopes its proposed rule will survive a court challenge. I doubt it.”

Source: US News