Biden to crack down on migrant crossings with order allowing him to halt new asylum claims

Biden to crack down on migrant crossings with order allowing him to halt new asylum claims

President Joe Biden will unveil an executive order aimed at curbing illegal border crossings that will allow him to shut down the US asylum process when crossings pass a certain daily threshold.

The White House is set to roll out Biden’s border action at an event on Tuesday that is expected to feature elected officials from border states and cities who’ve been bearing the brunt of migration along the US-Mexico border.

The plan is understood to include language that would give Biden the ability to order a halt to the processing of new asylum claims if more than 2,500 illegal crossings occur in one day. The pause in asylum claims would automatically be rescinded when illegal crossings dropped to 1,500 per day or lower.

Biden’s order is centered around a provision that was central to a compromise framework hammered out by Republican and Democratic negotiators in the Senate earlier this year. That legislative push died after former President Donald Trump pushed Republicans to oppose efforts to address illegal immigration during the presidential election.

Members of the former president’s party have openly fretted that the GOP’s presumed nominee is handing Democrats a political victory with the move.

“I’m extremely disappointed in the very strange maneuvering by many on the right to torpedo a potential border reform bill. That’s what we all ran on doing,” border-state Republican Dan Crenshaw said in February. “If we have a bill that, on net, significantly decreases illegal immigration, and we sabotage that, that is inconsistent with what we told our voters we would do.”

“It would be a pretty unacceptable dereliction of your duty.”

Migrants on the Mexican side of the US-Mexico border engage in a confrontation with Texas National Guard troops (AFP via Getty Images)
Migrants on the Mexican side of the US-Mexico border engage in a confrontation with Texas National Guard troops (AFP via Getty Images)

James Lankford, a Republican directly involved in negotiating the Senate immigration compromise framework, was unhappy with his party as well.

“The key aspect of this, again, is, are we as Republicans going to have press conferences and complain the border is bad and then intentionally leave it open?” he asked on Fox News. The answer turned out to be yes.

The compromise framework had been supported throughout its short lifespan by Biden and the White House, angering some of the president’s progressive supporters. Some Democrats in the House and Senate have argued that such restrictions on asylum should not be put into place before other measures, including a pathway to citizenship for DREAM Act recipients, are put into law. But those progressive priorities, while supported by a majority of Democrats and once supported by some of the same Republicans who now echo Trump’s rhetoric, seem out of reach given the current realities in the House and Senate.

The ex-president has ramped up aggressive, sometimes dehumanising rhetoric about both immigrants and his political opponents as the election season has progressed. At a rally in New Hampshire in December, the former president told his supporters that immigrants were “poisoning the blood of our country.” Separately, at a rally in Dayton, Ohio in March, he told supporters that Democrats were “not people” in some cases.

Biden has long resisted using executive action to enact more restrictive immigration policies, citing the limited authority granted presidents absent new laws enacted by Congress, and the White House is looking to place blame for the delay on the GOP’s intragisence.

A White House spokesperson told The Independent that House and Senate Republicans “do not care about securing the border or fixing America’s broken immigration system” because they’d have voted for the bipartisan border package if they did.

“Instead, they put partisan politics ahead of our country’s national security. While Congressional Republicans chose to stand in the way of additional border enforcement, President Biden will not stop fighting to deliver the resources that border and immigration personnel need to secure our border. As we have said before, the Administration continues to explore a series of policy options and we remain committed to taking action to address our broken immigration system,” they said.

With additional reporting by agencies