Biden’s Border Chaos Looms as Judges Threaten Asylum Rule

The Biden administration is standing firm in its plea to an appeals court to uphold the newly implemented asylum restrictions, emphasizing that discontinuing these restrictions could lead to significant border disruptions, a scenario nobody desires. They have called upon a panel of judges, including two appointed by President Bill Clinton and one by President Donald Trump, to reverse a July ruling that aimed to block these restrictions. Under these new rules, migrants must first apply online or seek protection in a country they traveled through, such as Mexico, in order to be eligible for asylum.

Although the judges have not yet made a ruling or revealed their inclinations, the Biden administration is facing additional pressure from Senate Republicans who are attempting to incorporate substantial changes to asylum eligibility into President Biden's request for military aid to Ukraine and Israel. This presents a challenging situation for the administration as it grapples with the border crisis and strives to maintain control over immigration policies.

The administration contends that its approach to these asylum restrictions differs from those implemented under the Trump administration. They argue that their policies establish new legal avenues for people to enter the country and include exceptions to the restrictions. However, advocates represented by organizations like the ACLU, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, and National Immigrant Justice Center contend that these are merely recycled Trump-era policies that violate U.S. asylum eligibility laws.

The Biden administration has made some efforts to provide alternatives for asylum-seekers, including introducing a mobile app that allows them to schedule appointments at official border crossings with Mexico. They have also permitted a substantial number of asylum-seekers from countries like Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela to pursue asylum if they apply online and have a financial sponsor. Nevertheless, these efforts may not be sufficient to sway the judges or the advocates who are challenging the restrictions.

The outcome of this legal battle and its impact on the border crisis remains uncertain. While the new restrictions did initially lead to a decrease in illegal crossings from Mexico, the numbers quickly rose again. Arrests in September came close to the all-time monthly high reached in December 2022, surpassing 2 million for the second consecutive year. The Biden administration is making a strong case for maintaining the restrictions, even if they lose the appeal and have to escalate the case to the Supreme Court. The ultimate success of their efforts remains to be seen.



Written by Staff Reports

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