In his last debate with Donald Trump on October 22, 2020, Joe Bidenthen a candidate, he attacked his rival for radically undermining the decades-old American tradition of welcome people seeking asylum at the borders of the country.
“This is the first president in the history of the United States of America that anyone seeking asylum must do so in another country,” Biden said, referring to one of hundreds of Trump-era immigration policies aimed at close the border
However, this Thursday, the Biden administration should do it impose a very similar constraint asylum seekers by quickly denying the requests of most people who cross the border but do not first seek refuge in Mexico.
Like Trump’s policy, the new approach is likely to lead many migrants to be deported in a rapid process that, according to critics, deprives them of due process.
an aimless policy
After nearly two and a half years in office, Biden is struggling to find an approach to immigration that satisfies his critics from right or left. In some cases, he endorsed his predecessor’s aggressive measures to keep immigrants at bay on the southern border.
However, Republicans have attacked him for his policies facilitating immigration to the United States, while human rights groups and pro-immigrant activists criticize his adoption of tougher measures to prevent entry.
The announcement of the new rigorous approach to asylum, promised by immigration activists dispute in court— comes as the Biden administration prepares to end another Trump-era policy known as Title 42, which it has actually supported the closed border to asylum seekers since the start of the coronavirus pandemic three years ago.
The president has taken some steps aimed at welcoming migrants and ending what he once called the “national and moral disgrace” of Trump’s immigration policies.
Got engaged never to separate families at the border, as Trump did in the summer of 2018. And his administration has taken steps to bring in more migrants from places like Ukraine, Afghanistan and several Central American countries.
On the first day of his administration, Biden introduced legislation that would have provided a path to citizenship 11 million immigrants which have no permanent legal status, would protect so-called Dreamers and expand visas for workers, families and visitors.
Republicans were uniformly against the proposal, which it got nowhere. Conservative judges, egged on by Republican governors and lawmakers, also blocked immigration efforts by other administrations.
But the waves of immigrants displaced by political and economic turmoil – and the Republican Party’s use of such images to promote the idea that the border is out of control – have shaped Biden’s immigration policies in ways few of the his allies imagined when he was running for President.
Heidi Altman, director of policy at the liberal National Immigrant Justice Center, said the Biden administration taken some “important steps” towards more humane policies for immigrants. But he criticized what he called a Trump-like “network of policies.”
“These are policies designed to hinder or make impossible that people who need security get it and punish them for even trying,” he said.
The administration does not hesitate to use strict rules, arguing that the best way to dissuade migrants from making the perilous journey to the border is to ensure that there are consequences for illegal crossing. In a memo distributed to reporters last week, the White House proudly outlined its approach to this sensitive issue.
deterrence and diplomacy
“The Biden-Harris Administration Plan Relies on Law Enforcement,” the statement said, adding that the effort also involves “deterrence” and “diplomacy” with other countries.
Immigration officials are quick to point out that they have combined tougher enforcement with new opportunities for immigrants, including programs that allow immigrants from Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Haiti to apply for a special two-year entry program rather than risk to cross the border.
After being blocked by the courts, finally the administration ended a Trump administration policy called “Stay in Mexico”which forced asylum seekers to wait in dangerous conditions in Mexico while their cases were processed in the United States.
White House officials categorically refuse the idea that Biden’s immigration agenda is similar to Trump’s. They noted that Biden on Monday threatened to veto Republican House legislation that would have restored some of the former president’s tougher ideas, including building a border wall.
“Donald Trump asked for more money for an ineffective border wall that couldn’t even withstand high winds, not to mention sophisticated criminal smuggling networks,” said Abdullah Hasan, White House spokesman. “President Biden urges Congress to provide more asylum officers, immigration judges and border security technology.”
However, immigrant advocates and some Democrats say the president and his team have moved too slowly to dismantle Trump’s tough policies.
They indicate, among other things, a decision by the former president to require authorized migrants to apply for asylum they were immediately interviewed after being caught, while still in Border Police custody.
that decision it has prevented many migrants from having time to prepare their case and find a lawyer, the activists said then. The number of migrants who have been granted asylum took a diveexactly the result Trump administration officials wanted.
Now the Biden administration is taking a similar approach to expedite the deportation of migrants at the border.
Deported within hours
People applying for asylum now are interviewed by telephone within hours of being transferred to Border Police custody. If denied asylum, many are deported to Mexico or their home countries. within a few hoursaccording to immigration lawyers.
Administration officials point this out they added many phone booths to Border Patrol facilities and now provide lists of pro bono lawyers to migrants. Unlike Trump’s policy, asylum talks are not conducted by Border Patrol agents.
One of Trump’s more draconian policies was the use of the public health rule known as Title 42, which effectively closed the border to most asylum seekers on the grounds that action was necessary. to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic.
When Trump used the powers of Title 42 at the start of the pandemic in 2020, it was part of a larger effort by Stephen Miller, the architect of the administration’s immigration agenda, to achieve his real goal: the effective end of the US asylum systemwhich has been going on for seven decades.
Critics attacked the measure at the time. Amnesty International accused the Trump administration of “militarizing COVID-19 to achieve the political goal it has been pursuing since day one: closing the border.” The Democrats have promised reverse the policy immediately.
But when he took office a year later, Biden did no such thing. He argued that it was up to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which continued to roll out the public health emergency, that allowed Title 42 to be invoked.
After the CDC said Title 42 was no longer needed in April 2022, the administration has taken steps to put an end to it, but they were blocked by conservative judges.
The administration then expanded the use of Title 42 in October, before the courts allowed it to be permanently ended this week. But it’s too little too late to convince supporters that the Biden administration is in the right place.
“People looking for security now need to have access to asylum, and American laws give them that rightAltman said. “The administration is eviscerating that access, along the same lines as the Trump administration.”
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.