Biden moves to restrict asylum in bid to push back on Republican attacks

Baku, June 5, AZERTAC
US President Joe Biden rolled out a new executive order Tuesday to significantly restrict asylum claims in a bid to stave off Republican criticism of his border policies ahead of November's national election, according to Anadolu Agency.
Biden acknowledged the political dynamics at play with his new action, saying Republicans are attempting to use immigration "to attack me.”
He referenced efforts undertaken by former President Donald Trump to pressure his fellow partisans into opposing a bipartisan border deal that Senate Republicans tanked in February, but maintained, "The border is not a political issue to be weaponized."
"It's an extremely cynical political move, and a complete disservice to the American people who are looking for us not to weaponize the border, but to fix it," the president said in remarks from the White House.
"Today, 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. 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."
Biden's order bars individuals who crossed the southern border illegally from receiving asylum "absent exceptionally compelling circumstances," a senior Biden administration official told reporters. Individuals will only be referred to an asylum officer for a screening "if they manifest or express a fear of return to their country or country of removal of fear of persecution or torture, or an intention to apply for asylum," said the official.
"The United States will continue to adhere to its international obligations and commitments by screening individuals who are found to be ineligible for asylum for withholding of removal and Convention Against Torture protections at a reasonable probability of persecution or torture standard, a new substantially higher standard and is currently being applied at the border," he added.
The order goes into effect when there is a seven-day average of 2,500 or more "border encounters" per day. That includes the southwestern land border and southern US coastal borders. There are already well over 2,500 daily "border encounters," meaning the order immediately takes effect.
Its restrictions remain in place until two weeks after the number of "border encounters" dips below 1,500.
"Taken together, these measures will significantly increase the speed and the scope consequences for those who cross unlawfully or without authorization and allow the departments to more quickly remove individuals who do not establish a legal basis to remain in the United States," said the official.
Even as he tightened asylum access, Biden sought to juxtapose himself with Trump.
"Will never demonize immigrants. I'll never refer to immigrants as poisoning the blood of our country," he said, referring to comments made by Trump that have been widely condemned for echoing Hitler's rhetoric.
"The simple truth is there is a worldwide migrant crisis. And if the United States doesn't secure our border, there's no limit to the number of people who may try to come here, because there's no better place on the planet than the United States of America. For those who say the steps I've taken are too strict, I say to you, be patient," added Biden.
There appeared to be little appetite for doing so, however, as migrant rights groups quickly lashed out at news of the executive action.
The Virginia-based Tahirih Justice Center said that through his "harmful and unworkable" action, Biden is "dismantling the asylum system one policy at a time."
"We know that these kinds of deterrence-based policies do not stop people from trying to seek safety, they just make it that much more dangerous to do so, with a disproportionate impact on survivors, particularly survivors of color. It also flies in the face of long- standing asylum law and treaty obligations," the non-profit said in a statement.
"This is in addition to other recent, misguided, deterrence-based policies that are rooted in xenophobia, racism, and a false mindset of scarcity, which have already practically slammed the door on all those seeking asylum," it added.


World 2024-06-05 10:28:00