Home Explainer Biden Plans To ‘Quickly Deport’ Migrants Crossing From Mexico

Biden Plans To ‘Quickly Deport’ Migrants Crossing From Mexico

Exceptions will be made for unaccompanied children, people who face serious medical or safety threats and victims of trafficking, a senior official said

WASHINGTON: Migrants caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border could be denied the chance to claim asylum and be quickly deported as part of a sweeping enforcement effort by U.S. President Joe Biden.

The Biden administration will immediately begin denying asylum to those who cross illegally and deport them to their home countries or to Mexico. Exceptions will be made for unaccompanied children, people who face serious medical or safety threats and victims of trafficking, a senior official said on a call with reporters.

Biden, a Democrat, has toughened his approach to border security after immigration became a top issue for Americans in the run-up to November 5 elections, where he will face Republican Donald Trump.

The new asylum restrictions are not permanent, the U.S. official told reporters. They are activated when the daily average of border arrests tops 2,500 over a week and will be paused when arrests drop below 1,500 per day, the official said.

The deterrent measures “will significantly increase consequences for those who cross the southern border unlawfully,” the official said.

But key operational questions about how the new measures will be implemented remain unclear.

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These include how the administration plans to quickly deport migrants from far-away and uncooperative countries, and how many non-Mexican migrants Mexico would accept under the new enforcement regime.

Biden’s proposals resemble similar policies implemented by Trump and use a legal statute known as 212(f) that served as the underpinning for Trump’s travel bans blocking people from several majority-Muslim nations and other countries.

The new restrictions are expected to trigger legal challenges from immigrant and civil rights groups who have criticized Biden for adopting Trump-like policies and backtracking on U.S. legal obligations to asylum seekers.

The Biden administration has taken a number of steps over the past year to toughen the asylum process, including issuing a regulation in May 2023 that raised the standard for an initial asylum claim.

Biden officials have said the effectiveness of U.S. enforcement is limited by a lack of resources in the absence of more funding from Congress.


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In a career spanning over three decades and counting, I’ve been the Foreign Editor of The Telegraph, Outlook Magazine and The New Indian Express. I helped set up rediff.com’s editorial operations in San Jose and New York, helmed sify.com, and was the founder editor of India.com.

My work has featured in national and international publications like the Al Jazeera Centre for Studies, Global Times and The Asahi Shimbun. My one constant over all these years, however, has been the attempt to understand rising India’s place in the world.

On demand, I can rustle up a mean salad, my oil-less pepper chicken is to die for, and depending on the time of the day, all it takes to rock my soul is some beer and some jazz or good ole rhythm & blues.

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