Biden reportedly close to implementing migrant restrictions as part of efforts to tighten US-Mexico border control

The White House is in the process of finalizing plans for a crackdown on the U.S.-Mexico border. Under the new measures, asylum requests would be suspended, and migrants would be automatically denied entry once the number of individuals encountered by American border officials surpassed a designated daily limit. President Joe Biden is anticipated to sign an executive order regarding these changes as early as Tuesday, as per four individuals with knowledge of the situation.

The president has been considering further executive action following the failure of a bipartisan border bill earlier this year. The rate of illegal border crossings between the U.S. and Mexico has decreased over the past few months, in part due to increased efforts by Mexico. However, immigration continues to be a major concern as the U.S. presidential election approaches in November, and Republicans are eager to criticize Biden on this issue.

The Democratic administration is making efforts to prevent a potential increase in border crossings as the fall election approaches, and the weather cools down. According to two anonymous sources familiar with the discussions, the administration is taking action to address this issue.

By taking this step, Biden’s administration aims to demonstrate its efforts in curbing migration and expediting the asylum process. It allows Biden to assert that he has exhausted all available options to manage the influx of migrants at the border, even without assistance from Congress.

The discussions were ongoing, and the individuals emphasized that no definitive choices had been reached.

The proposed measures aim to address the strain on the country’s asylum system, expedite the processing of migrants already in the United States, and accelerate the handling of cases involving individuals with criminal records or those who would eventually be disqualified for asylum.

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According to sources, the administration is considering implementing certain policies outlined in a bipartisan Senate border deal. These policies include setting a limit of 4,000 encounters per day over a week and determining whether this limit would also apply to asylum-seekers who have appointments through the CBP One app. Currently, there are approximately 1,450 such appointments made each day.

According to two sources, there is a possibility that migrants who arrive after the border reaches a certain threshold could be automatically removed in a process similar to deportation, making it more difficult for them to easily return. Previously, migrants were able to easily return to the border if they were expelled under the pandemic-era policy known as Title 42. This policy allowed Mexico to take back some non-Mexican nationalities, including migrants from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

When migrants, particularly families, seek asylum at the southern border, they are typically allowed to enter the United States while their cases are pending. However, with over 2 million immigration court cases awaiting resolution, individuals often face lengthy waits, sometimes spanning years, as they reside in a state of uncertainty within the country.

Asking for asylum is open to anyone, regardless of their method of arrival at the border. However, there has been a growing trend among U.S. officials to encourage migrants to schedule appointments and utilize a legal pathway to avoid the risks and expenses associated with the journey. Alternatively, individuals can choose to remain where they are and apply for asylum through designated outposts in Colombia, Guatemala, and Costa Rica.

The Biden administration has become increasingly cautious regarding border issues as the president continues to face relentless criticism from Republicans. Moreover, with a significant influx of migrants crossing into the U.S. from Mexico, the situation becomes more complex as it becomes challenging to repatriate them, especially in light of the growing global displacement caused by factors such as war and climate change.

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Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides the administration with the authority to control immigration and block the entry of specific immigrants into the United States. According to this provision, if the entry of certain individuals is deemed to be “detrimental” to the national interest of the United States, the president has wide discretion to take action.

Senate Republicans once again thwarted the passage of a bill last week, which aimed to establish legal measures to address the issue. The vote aimed to highlight the GOP’s opposition to the proposal, despite their consistent demand for stricter regulations and criticism of Biden’s perceived lack of action in curbing the influx of migrants into the country.

The National Border Patrol Council, led by its president Brandon Judd, who is a supporter of Donald Trump, endorsed the bipartisan bill after months of negotiations. It seemed like the bill was on track to be passed. However, Trump, worried about giving Democrats a victory in an election year, urged Republicans to reject the bill, and they complied.

White House officials have not confirmed the anticipated executive order.

According to White House spokesman Angelo Fernández Hernández, the administration is actively exploring various policy options to tackle the issue of our broken immigration system. He emphasized the administration’s unwavering commitment to taking action in order to address this pressing concern.

President Biden remains committed to providing the necessary resources for border and immigration personnel to secure our border, despite the opposition from congressional Republicans.

This year, Congress has given its approval for funding a total of 41,500 detention beds and has allocated an additional $1.2 billion for immigration enforcement and removal operations, surpassing the initial request made by the White House. Notably, $106 million of the increased funding will be directed towards programs that utilize phone apps and ankle bracelets to monitor immigrants in the asylum system, thereby providing an alternative to detention.

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Negotiated in the aftermath of the bipartisan deal’s collapse, these increases could potentially open doors for the administration to escalate immigration enforcement.

However, unlike legislative action that carries binding authority, any actions taken by Biden through executive action can be challenged in the courts. It remains uncertain whether, or when, the crackdown on asylum would take effect. Additionally, the administration is considering other measures, such as expediting and strengthening the enforcement of the asylum process.

According to sources, the administration typically combines proposed crackdowns with the expansion of legal paths in other areas. However, it is important to note that these expansions are not announced at the same time as the new restrictions.

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