sábado, abril 13

Biden considers executive order that could restrict asylum at the border

President Biden is considering executive action that could prevent people who enter the United States illegally from seeking asylum, several people with knowledge of the proposal said Wednesday. The move would suspend long-standing safeguards that give anyone entering U.S. soil the right to seek refuge.

The order would implement a key policy of a bipartisan bill that Republicans thwarted earlier this month, even though it included some of the most significant border security restrictions Congress has considered in years.

The bill would have virtually closed the border to new arrivals if more than 5,000 migrants on average per day attempted to cross illegally over the course of a week, or if more than 8,500 attempted to cross over the course of a day given.

The action the White House is considering would have a similar trigger to block asylum to new arrivals, people familiar with the proposal say. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

The move, if passed, would echo President Donald J. Trump’s 2018 effort to block migration, which was attacked by Democrats and blocked by federal courts.

While such action would undoubtedly face legal challenges, the fact that Mr. Biden is considering it shows how far he has come on immigration since taking office, promising a more humane system after the Trump years .

Mr Biden has taken a much harder line as the number of people crossing the US-Mexico border has reached record levels and the asylum system, chronically underfunded and understaffed, reached a breaking point.

Yet even if Mr. Biden tried to take unilateral action to reduce the number of people seeking asylum, a lack of resources would remain a huge obstacle to any major changes at the border. U.S. officials have said they need a massive infusion of money to hire Border Patrol agents and asylum officers and to expand detention centers.

A White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the plans under discussion, said no decisions had been made.

But people with knowledge of the proposal said Mr. Biden could invoke his authority to act under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, which allows the president to suspend the immigration of any person deemed “prejudicial to the interests of the State”. the United States.» Mr. Trump used the same authority to impose a ban on people from several majority-Muslim countries during his presidency.

Lee Gelernt, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union who helped oppose Trump’s efforts, said his group would most likely challenge such a policy, depending on its details.

“The courts insisted that the Trump administration could not deny asylum based simply on how a person entered the country,” Mr. Gelernt said. “Let us hope that the Biden administration does not consider recycling this blatantly illegal and unworkable policy. »

But a legal battle, whatever the outcome, could allow Mr. Biden to try to neutralize one of his biggest political vulnerabilities: chaos at the southern border. Republicans have repeatedly used the border crisis to portray Mr. Biden as weak on enforcement. A legal battle would allow him to highlight the Republicans’ refusal to give him the power to crack down on the border through legislation.

The Biden administration has spent several years trying to curb migration, in part by limiting asylum for those crossing from Mexico to the United States. The policy made it more difficult for migrants to obtain asylum if they passed through a third country en route to the United States and did not seek protection there.

But even though this restrictive policy has raised the bar for migrants to gain asylum, U.S. officials cannot implement it properly without the kind of resources Mr. Biden had hoped Congress would approve. The failed bill would have provided billions in funding, including hiring thousands of asylum officers to process applications.

Some circumstances at the southern border are largely beyond the president’s control, including historic migration across the hemisphere from Venezuela, Haiti, Honduras and other countries facing instability, violence and disaster natural.

But Mr. Biden is under pressure from both parties, not just the usual Republican critics, to do something. And the crisis doesn’t end at the border itself: Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas has sent busloads of migrants to Democratic cities far to the north, saying he wants to «bring the border to the president Biden.”

Cities found themselves overwhelmed by the arrival of migrants – often without coats or family members in the United States. Leaders in the president’s own party began making appeals for help.

That pressure has scrambled immigration policy in an election year, giving Mr. Biden far more leeway to support border measures once denounced by Democrats and championed by Mr. Trump.

Mr. Biden directly blamed Mr. Trump for using his influence over the GOP to derail the same bipartisan deal on immigration that Republicans had been pushing for for years.

Mr. Biden predicted in a speech earlier this month that Republicans would move to block the bill. “Why? A simple reason,” he said. “Donald Trump. Because Donald Trump thinks this is politically bad for him.”

Jonathan Swan contributed reporting from Washington.