Biden Administration Issues Proposal to Restrict Asylum Seekers - COMMENT NOW
Should the U.S. deny asylum to anyone "circumventing" legal pathways?
- On February 19, seventeen asylum seekers died in a bus crash as they traveled through the state of Puebla, Mexico en route to the U.S. The crash comes days before the start of the public comment period on Biden's strict new asylum rule targeting the U.S.-Mexico border.
- The proposed rule would make asylum seekers ineligible for U.S. protection if they "circumvent" legal pathways.
The Biden administration's approach
- A proposal released on Tuesday by the Biden administration will ban migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border from claiming asylum in a move to deter people from coming to the border without receiving prior authorization.
- The proposal, issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Justice, will make it mandatory for asylum seekers to use existing, legal pathways to enter the U.S., although the policy will not apply to unaccompanied minors.
- Immigration rights activists and fellow Democrats have criticized Biden’s border policies as being akin to those of his predecessor, Donald Trump.
- Eleanor Acer, refugee protection director at Human Rights First, said the restrictions on asylum are "right out of the Trump playbook."
- Lee Gelernt, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney said,
"We successfully sued to block the Trump transit ban and will sue again if the Biden administration goes through with its plan."
- The proposed asylum rules come as the Covid border restrictions, known as Title 42, are set to end on May 11. Title 42 allowed U.S. authorities to expel migrants, regardless of nation of origin, to Mexico, without giving them a chance to claim asylum.
- The proposal is subject to a 30-day public comment period before being reviewed for final publication. Submit a formal comment here.
- There were forty-five asylum seekers on the bus that crashed last Sunday. They were from Venezuela, Colombia, and Central America.
- The crash comes a week after a bus carrying sixty-six migrants plunged off a cliff in Panama, killing thirty-nine people. The crash occurred after the bus successfully traversed the Darién Gap, one of the most dangerous regions in the world.
- An unknown number of people have died attempting to cross the Darién Gap between Panama and Colombia en route to the U.S.-Mexico border. According to the Panamanian government, roughly 250,000 migrants crossed the Darién Gap in 2022 alone, up from 133,000 in 2021.
Crisis at the border
- In May of 2022, US law enforcement recorded 239,416 encounters at the Mexico border, the highest monthly number ever recorded.
- The International Organization for Migration estimates that there have been over 4,000 deaths at the U.S.-Mexico border since 2014, with countless migrants missing.
- In June 2022, 53 migrants were found asphyxiated near San Antonio, Texas, in the deadliest smuggling incident in U.S. history.
- There is also a growing rate of unaccompanied minors reaching the border. In the first half of the 2022 fiscal year, 100,336 unaccompanied minors were detained by U.S. border authorities.
- A lack of economic opportunities, environmental disasters, and increasing rates of gang violence and retribution have led to the steadily increasing number of migrants and asylum seekers at the border
- Eduardo "Eddie'' Canales, the founder of the NGO South Texas Human Rights Center, said,
"South Texas is a burial ground for many migrants."
Do you support the Biden administration's new proposal to address the migrant crisis? Leave a comment.
(Photo Credit: Miahuatlan Medical Services via Democracy Now)