WASHINGTON – US President Joe Biden’s administration would make it harder to seek asylum at the US-Mexico border under several plans being considered that bear similarities to policies pushed by former President Donald Trump.
Two Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials and a person familiar with the matter said the administration is discussing a fast-track regulation to deny asylum to single adult migrants if they do not first seek protection in other countries.
The sources said they had not seen a copy of the proposed regulation so could not provide further details.
Since Biden took office in January 2021, his administration has struggled both operationally and politically with record numbers of migrants crossing the US-Mexico border illegally.
US border authorities made 2.2 million migrant arrests at the border in the fiscal year 2022 ending on Sept 30, although many of those included repeat crossers.
Another US official said the Biden administration has discussed other Trump-era deterrents that include accelerated asylum screenings for migrants in Border Patrol custody.
Another possibility under consideration was to increase a practice known as “metering,” which limits the number of migrants who can approach a port of entry to seek asylum, this official said.
A DHS spokesperson said on Friday no decisions had been made to make changes in policy. A Mexican official said the country had not been briefed on any U.S. plans aimed at curbing border flows by resurrecting measures from the Trump administration.
Biden, a Democrat, defeated Trump, a Republican, in a 2020 presidential election promising to undo his predecessor’s hardline immigration policies and “reassert America’s commitment to asylum-seekers and refugees.”
The policies under consideration, if adopted, would sharply backtrack on those pledges and have already drawn concern from immigration advocates. Similar Trump policies were challenged in court and overturned.
To be granted U.S. asylum, migrants who enter the country must show they seek protection from persecution elsewhere based on their race, religion, nationality, political opinions or membership in a particular social group.
By The Straits Time
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