Biden is thinking about massive new executive actions for the migrant crisis

The Biden administration plans to implement several new executive actions and federal regulations to address migration issues at the U.S. southern border, as per information from three individuals familiar with the matter.

The proposals being considered could completely change how the White House approaches an issue that has been a challenge since the beginning of the administration. This new approach has the potential to create conflict between the president and important groups of people.

There are several ideas being discussed, one of which is to utilize a portion of the Immigration and Nationality Act to prevent migrants from seeking asylum outside of designated U.S. ports of entry. Additionally, the administration is considering implementing this directive based on a certain threshold of illegal crossings. These deliberations were shared by three anonymous sources.

The trigger mechanism, which was included in a bipartisan Senate border deal that ultimately did not pass, had been a topic of discussion. President Joe Biden had emphasized that it would have granted him the power to “shut down” the border.

The administration is currently engaged in discussions on how to increase the difficulty for migrants to successfully pass the initial screening for asylum seekers. This would involve raising the “credible fear standard” as a means to achieve this goal. Additionally, measures are being considered to expedite the deportation of individuals who do not meet the elevated asylum standards. According to two sources, policy announcements regarding these changes may be made as early as next week, prior to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech scheduled for March 7th.

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The administration officials could utilize these policies to fill the gap left by congressional Republicans’ rejection of a bipartisan border deal in the Senate. However, this move could also invite criticism that the administration had the necessary tools all along to effectively tackle the migrant crisis but chose to delay their implementation.

According to an anonymous administration official, no definite decisions have been reached regarding potential executive actions. The official emphasized that it is common for administrations to consider various options, but this does not guarantee that these policies will be implemented.

As the White House attempts to capitalize on the failure of the border deal, they are considering new executive action. Democrats are increasingly worried about the electoral implications of the situation at the southern border. In an effort to address this issue, officials are hoping that policy announcements will deter migrants from coming to the border. Their aim is to demonstrate to voters that they are actively exploring all possible solutions to the problem, especially with peak migration season fast approaching.

“The White House spokesperson, Angelo Fernández Hernández, emphasized the Administration’s commitment to delivering a bipartisan border security bill that is both tough and fair. Months of negotiations were conducted in good faith to address the need for significant policy reforms and additional funding to secure the border and address the flaws in the immigration system.”

He continued by stating that no matter how aggressive an executive action may be, it cannot deliver the significant policy reforms and additional resources that Congress can provide and that Republicans rejected.

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According to three individuals familiar with the planning, it should be noted that the specific details of the proposed actions are not yet clear. Furthermore, the impact of these policies, particularly the asylum ban, will heavily rely on the exact language used in the federal regulation. For instance, the Senate bill had provisions that allowed for exceptions, such as unaccompanied minors and individuals who met the criteria outlined in the United Nations Convention Against Torture rules.

Other complications exist as well. Implementing any action from the White House would lack the necessary funding and resources to facilitate an easier implementation process. However, the administration is exploring options to secure additional funding. Moreover, these actions are likely to encounter legal challenges.

The Trump administration utilized Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act multiple times to actively influence the immigration system. In 2018, President Donald Trump implemented a policy that temporarily restricted migrants attempting to unlawfully enter the U.S. outside of designated ports of entry. However, this policy faced immediate opposition from a federal judge in California. Subsequently, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals concurred with the ruling, which was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court.

Immigration advocates are expected to strongly criticize the policies upon their announcement, arguing that the president is once again reneging on his campaign promises to improve the immigration system and safeguard the right to seek asylum.

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