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  • The White House is Preparing a Broad Executive Order on Immigration Policy.

The White House is Preparing a Broad Executive Order on Immigration Policy.

INTRODUCTION

It is expected that US President Joe Biden will issue a new executive order that seeks to cut back migrant arrivals at the US-Mexico border. This is to curb a jump in migrant numbers and nullify one of his most significant weaknesses in the US election against Donald Trump.

BACKGROUND

Since the start of his administration, over 6.4 million migrants have been refused entry into the US. This record high has left President Biden politically vulnerable as he campaigns for re-election.

As of 2024, there has been a steep decline in migrant arrivals. Experts have noted, though, that this trend is only temporary. Several news outlets have reported that Mr Biden has been contemplating use of a 1952 law that restricts access to the American asylum system.

The law, known as 212(f), allows the US president to “suspend the entry” of foreigners if their arrival is “detrimental to the interests” of the country.

The same regulation was used by the Trump administration to ban immigration and travel from several predominantly Muslim countries and to prevent access to asylum for migrants apprehended while crossing into the US illegally, an act that provoked strong accusations of racism.

Asylum processing at ports of entry is expected to continue under the order. About 1,500 asylum seekers go through the process at official crossings daily, mainly after setting up appointments using a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) app called CBP One.

Worthy of note, however, is the fact that the proposal is likely to be challenged in court, either by immigration advocates or from Republican-led states.

A White House official told the BBC on Friday that no final decisions had been made on possible executive actions. Republicans have criticized the Biden border plan as an election-year ruse and argued that US laws already exist to prevent illegal immigration. Still, the Democratic president was not duly enforcing them.

News of the potential executive order comes as several migrant detentions at the US-Mexico border fall. Recently released statistics from CBP show that about 179,000 migrant “encounters” were recorded in April.

In December, by comparison, the figure spiked to 302,000 – a historic high.

Officials in the US and Mexico have said that increased enforcement by Mexican authorities is mainly responsible, although many experts have cautioned the reductions are unlikely to be permanent.

 

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MIGRANTS? 

According to CBS, what this means is that US officials could promptly deport illegal migrants without processing their asylum requests as soon as a daily quota is met. This will consequently allow border officials to limit the amount of migrant arrivals to the US.

FINAL NOTES

For a while now, Biden has been under pressure to take a stricter stance on immigration, not only from Republicans but also from some Democrats in border states like Texas and Arizona.

Although he released a plan for long-term reform of the immigration and asylum system at the onset of his administration, he has faced criticism for his snail’s pace response to the proliferation in arrivals during his tenure.

Perhaps all of this might have prompted the issuance of the new immigration order.

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