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What to Know About Biden’s New Asylum Crackdown at the U.S.-Mexico Border

By Jake Beardslee · June 4, 2024

On Tuesday, President Biden took the long anticipated step of issuing an executive action that would deny asylum to migrants entering the U.S. illegally from Mexico amid high border crossing levels.  The White House / Wikimedia

The rule will allow U.S. officials to refuse entry to most migrants who cross into the country between official ports of entry when daily border apprehensions exceed 2,500 individuals.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection / Wikimedia

According to administration officials, this threshold is already being met, so the policy goes into effect immediately.  Amyyfory / Wikimedia

In announcing the new asylum crackdown, senior White House aides framed it as a necessary step resulting from congressional inaction.  Josh Morgan / USA TODAY NETWORK

For over three years, the Biden administration has pushed for increased border security funding and reforms through bipartisan legislation, according to deputy White House press secretary Andrew Bates.  Office of the Attorney General of California / Wikimedia

However, these bills have been repeatedly blocked by Senate Republicans at the urging of former President Trump. With midterm elections looming and polls showing voters trust Republicans more on immigration, the White House is now taking unilateral action.  Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

"The Trump administration attacked almost every facet of the immigration system and did so in a shameful and inhumane way. … The actions that we are taking today will only apply during times of high encounters," a senior administration official told reporters.  Sgt. 1st Class Gordon Hyde / Wikimedia

For example, unaccompanied minors will still be exempt and migrants can still seek protection from torture or persecution on a case-by-case basis.  Tony Webster / Wikimedia

Still, legal challenges are expected given concerns the restrictions could undermine asylum rights. With citizenship a galvanizing issue, both parties are hoping voters see their approach as strongest on border security come November.  Clay Banks / Unsplash

The president's executive action comes in the wake of a historic presidential election in Mexico, where the country elected its first female president, and just as the campaign in the U.S. ramps up.  Amyyfory / Wikimedia

According to a national poll conducted by CNBC in late March, Trump holds a substantial 30-point lead over his opponent among registered voters when asked which candidate would better handle immigration and border security issues, including a 23-point lead among Latino voters.  Justin Lane / Pool via USA TODAY NETWORK