Contact Us for a Free Consultation 304-755-1101


President Biden’s New Asylum Restrictions: A Legal and Political Analysis

Posted by Paul Saluja | Jun 05, 2024

On Tuesday, President Biden issued an executive order that significantly restricts the ability of migrants to seek asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border during periods of high crossings. This dramatic measure, aimed at easing pressure on the immigration system and addressing voter concerns, marks the most restrictive border policy implemented by any modern Democratic president.

The Executive Order and Its Context

President Biden's executive action stipulates that once the seven-day average for daily illegal crossings hits 2,500—a common occurrence now—border officers will be empowered to return migrants to Mexico or their home countries within hours or days. The border will only reopen when the average drops to 1,500 for seven consecutive days and remains there for two weeks.

The executive order represents a significant departure from the longstanding U.S. asylum policy, which traditionally allowed migrants who crossed the border illegally to claim asylum and wait within the country for their court appearances. However, with a massive backlog causing delays of years, the new system aims to deter illegal crossings by creating immediate consequences.

Legal and Political Implications

This move echoes a similar effort by former President Donald J. Trump in 2018, which was blocked by federal courts. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has already signaled its intention to challenge Biden's executive action in court, arguing that the policy is just as unlawful now as it was under Trump.

The ACLU's Lee Gelernt emphasized, “It was unlawful under Trump and is no less illegal now,” setting the stage for another significant legal battle over asylum rights.

Bipartisan Legislative Hurdles

In his remarks, President Biden blamed the need for executive action on Republican obstruction of bipartisan legislation that proposed substantial border security measures. Despite the restrictive nature of his new policy, Biden sought to distance his actions from Trump's by emphasizing continued cooperation with Mexico and rejecting the inflammatory rhetoric Trump often used.

White House spokesman Andrew Bates criticized Republicans for their role in stalling legislative solutions, suggesting that Trump's influence prevented a bipartisan approach that could have addressed border security in a more lasting manner.

Shifting Political Landscape

The new policy underscores a rightward shift in U.S. immigration politics, with increasing support across both parties for measures previously championed by Trump and opposed by Democrats. Polls indicate that a significant portion of the electorate now favors stricter border controls, influenced by the record levels of illegal crossings in recent years.

The Broader Impact

Assuming it survives legal challenges, the executive order will fundamentally change how asylum is handled at the border. Limited exceptions will be made for minors traveling alone, victims of human trafficking, and those who schedule appointments through a Customs and Border Protection app. Nonetheless, the policy largely suspends the long-held guarantee that anyone on U.S. soil can seek asylum.

Biden's action has drawn criticism from immigration advocates and progressive Democrats, who accuse him of abandoning his campaign promises to rebuild the asylum system. Senator Alex Padilla of California lamented that Biden's decision undermines American values and obligations to protect those fleeing persecution.

Looking Ahead

President Biden urged patience from critics, promising to outline plans for a fairer and more just immigration system in the coming weeks. The administration's approach to asylum and border security will continue to evolve, reflecting the complex interplay of legal, political, and humanitarian considerations.

As the legal and political debates unfold, Saluja Law will continue to monitor the implications of these new policies on asylum seekers and the broader immigration landscape. For those affected by these changes or seeking legal guidance, our firm remains committed to providing expert support and advocacy in navigating this challenging and rapidly changing environment.

About the Author

Paul Saluja

Paul Saluja is a distinguished legal professional with over two decades of experience serving clients across a spectrum of legal domains. Graduating from West Virginia State University in 1988 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry, he continued his academic journey at Ohio Northern University, gr...

Contact Us Today

Specializing in Immigration and Business Law on an international scale, Saluja Law Offices PLLC operates out of West Virginia and handles Family law cases within the local community.

We offer a Free Consultation and we'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.