ARIZONA NEWS

How Biden’s new order to halt asylum at the US border is supposed to work

Jun 4, 2024, 6:00 PM

People seeking asylum, including a group from Peru, walk behind a Border Patrol agent towards a van...

People seeking asylum, including a group from Peru, walk behind a Border Patrol agent towards a van to be processed after crossing the border with Mexico nearby, on April 25, 2024, in Boulevard, Calif. President Joe Biden has ordered a halt to asylum processing at the U.S. border with Mexico when arrests for illegal entry top 2,500 a day, which was triggered immediately. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — President Joe Biden on Tuesday unveiled a halt to asylum processing at the U.S. border with Mexico when illegal entries reach a threshold that he deems excessive.

The measure takes effect immediately because the new policy is triggered when arrests for illegal entry reach 2,500. About 4,000 people already are entering the U.S. each day. It was a major policy shift on a critical election-year issue that’s exposed Biden to Republican criticism over an unprecedented surge in new arrivals in an election year.

THE MEASURE

Advocates say it will put migrants in danger and violate international obligations to provide safe haven to people whose lives are threatened. The Biden administration denies that.

Legal challenges are imminent.

There are also serious questions of whether the new measure can stop large-scale migrant entries. Mexico has agreed to take back migrants who are not Mexican, but only in limited numbers. And the Biden administration doesn’t have the money and diplomatic support it needs to deport migrants long distances, to China and countries in Africa, for example.

Those who claim asylum today are generally free to live and work in the United States while their claims slowly wind through overwhelmed immigration courts.

Some questions and answers about Biden’s presidential proclamation:

HOW WILL THIS PLAY OUT ON THE GROUND?

The threshold triggers a halt on asylum until average daily arrests for illegal crossings fall below 1,500 for a week straight. The last time crossings were that low was in July 2020, during the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pandemic-related asylum restrictions known as Title 42 carried no legal consequences and encouraged repeat attempts. Now, migrants will be issued deportation orders even if they are denied a chance to seek asylum. That will expose them to criminal prosecution if they try again and ban them for several years from legally entering the country. It’s a key difference.

“We are ready to repatriate a record number of people in the coming days,” Blas Nuñez-Neto, assistant homeland security secretary for border and immigration policy, said in a conference call for Spanish-language reporters.

Migrants who express fear for their safety if they’re deported will be screened by U.S. asylum officers but under a higher standard than what’s currently in place. If they pass, they can remain to pursue other forms of humanitarian protection, including those laid out in the U.N. Convention Against Torture.

Unaccompanied children are exempt, raising the possibility that some parents may send their sons and daughters across the border without them.

WHAT ROLE DOES MEXICO PLAY?

A critical one.

The U.S. has limited funding to fly people home to more than 100 countries, including many in Africa and Asia. It also lacks diplomatic sway and logistical arrangements to deport large numbers to many countries, including China, Russia and Venezuela.

A 1997 court order generally limits detention of families with a child under 18 to 20 days, a highly ambitious and perhaps unrealistic turnaround time to screen people who express fear of deportation and then put them on a flight.

Even for single adults, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has enough funds to only detain about 34,000 people at a time.

Mexico has agreed to take back up to 30,000 people a month from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela, in addition to Mexicans. Its commitment does not extend to other nationalities.

This year, Mexico has also made it far more difficult for migrants to reach the U.S. border, largely by preventing them from riding freight trains and stopping them on buses to turn them around to southern Mexico. While Mexican authorities are blocking migrants’ advance, relatively few are deported, causing many to be stuck in Mexican cities far from the U.S. border.

Alicia Bárcena, Mexico’s foreign relations secretary, told reporters last month that Mexico won’t allow more than 4,000 illegal entries a day. President-elect Claudia Sheinbaum, who takes office Oct. 1, is expected to continue policies of her mentor and Mexico’s current president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

HAS THIS BEEN TRIED BEFORE?

This is the latest in a series of measures under the Biden and Trump administrations to deter asylum-seekers, none of which have had lasting impact.

In May 2023, Biden imposed similar obstacles to asylum for anyone who crossed the border illegally after passing through another country, such as Mexico. A federal appeals court allowed those restrictions to stay in place while advocates challenge it, but it appears to have little impact.

Illegal crossings fell after last year’s restrictions took effect, but the lull was short-lived as the number of screening officers was inadequate for the enormous task. The rule’s application in only a small percentage of arrests showed how budgets can fail to match ambitions.

Biden invoked a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act that allows the president to ban entry for groups of people if their presence “would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.” President Donald Trump used these powers to ban entry of people from some predominantly Muslim countries, though advocacy groups are expected to argue that Biden failed to meet that “detrimental” criterion.

___

Associated Press writer Gisela Salomon in Miami contributed.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

The Kaibab National Forest will implement Stage 2 fire restrictions beginning on Friday....

KTAR.com

Kaibab National Forest to begin Stage 2 fire restrictions on Friday

The Kaibab National Forest will implement Stage 2 fire restrictions beginning on Friday.

6 minutes ago

A motorcyclist died as a result of a three-car crash in Peoria on June 17, 2024. (AP File Photo/Mat...

KTAR.com

Motorcyclist dead after 3-car crash in Peoria

A motorcyclist died as a result of a three-car crash in Peoria on Monday afternoon, authorities said.

1 hour ago

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signed the 2025 fiscal year budget on June 18, 2024. (Photo by Rebecca Nob...

KTAR.com

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signs $16.1 billion budget for 2025 fiscal year

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signed the fiscal year 2025 budget Tuesday that erases a $1.4 billion shortfall by curbing spending on higher education and more.

3 hours ago

Republican Cochise County Supervisors Tom Crosby, left, and Peggy Judd, right, face election interf...

KTAR.com

Judge rules election interference cases to continue for 2 Arizona county officials

A Maricopa County judge denied motions Tuesday by two Arizona county officials to dismiss their cases on potential election interference from 2022.

6 hours ago

Bash & Pop performs during the last Viva PHX in 2017. The downtown Phoenix music festival is return...

Kevin Stone

Viva PHX, a multivenue music festival in downtown Phoenix, returning after 7-year hiatus

Viva PHX, a multivenue downtown Phoenix music festival, is rising from the ashes in 2024 after a seven-year hiatus.

7 hours ago

File photos of lawyers Boris Epshteyn, left, and Jenna Ellis, who entered not guilty pleas in Arizo...

Associated Press

Last 3 defendants — Epshteyn, Ellis, Lamon — enter pleas in Arizona’s fake elector case

After the last three arraignments on Tuesday, all 18 defendants in the Arizona fake elector case have now pleaded not guilty.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

How Biden’s new order to halt asylum at the US border is supposed to work