US shuts off asylum to migrants who cross border illegally

The US government under Joe Biden is quickly invoking an authority to shut off access to asylum for migrants who cross the US-Mexico border illegally.


Biden unveiled the sweeping executive action Tuesday afternoon, June 4 at the White House, attempting to use executive action to affect the situation on the border after a bipartisan measure failed earlier this year.

The action comes as Biden tries to gain the upper hand on immigration just weeks from the first presidential debate by using the same authority former President Donald Trump tried to use in office.

In a speech at the White House, Biden said Republicans in Congress who blocked a bipartisan border deal left him no choice but to take executive action.

“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,” Biden said.


The new executive action bars migrants who cross the border illegally from seeking asylum – a departure from decades-long protocol, once a daily threshold is met. Unless they meet certain exemptions, migrants will be turned away to Mexico or returned to their country of origin.

Border authorities encountered around 3,500 migrants crossing the border unlawfully on Monday, according to a Homeland Security official, above the threshold needed for the executive action to take effect.


The number of people crossing the US southern border has consistently been a challenge for the Biden administration and Homeland Security officials have recently been arresting just under 4,000 migrants daily at the US-Mexico border.

Unaccompanied children, victims of a severe form of trafficking, and those who present an acute medical emergency or an imminent and extreme threat to life and safety are exempt from this rule.

“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. To hire more Border Patrol agents, more asylum officers, more judges. But Republicans have left me no choice,” Biden said in the speech from the East Room of the White House.

The president responded to criticism from progressives and others who have likened the move as similar to steps taken under Trump.

“For those who say the steps I’ve taken are too strict, I say to you that be patient and the good will of the American people is wearing thin right now. Doing nothing is not an option. We have to act. We must act consistent with both our law and our values. Our values as Americans. I take these steps today, not to walk away from who we are as Americans, to make sure we preserve who we are for future generations to come,” he said.

Biden also directly rebuked Trump.

“I will never demonize immigrants, I will never refer to immigrants as poisoning the blood of a country. And further, I’ll never separate children from their families at the border. I will not ban people from this country because of their religious beliefs. I will not use the US military to go into neighbourhoods all across the country to pull millions of people out of their homes and away from their families, to put detention camps while awaiting deportation, as my predecessor says he’ll do if he occupies this office again,” Biden said.

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