Biden sued for first time over US-Mexico border asylum clampdown



A coalition of immigrant advocacy groups has filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration over its recent directive that effectively halts asylum claims at the U.S. southern border. The groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, argue that the directive mirrors a similar move by the Trump administration that was previously blocked by the courts. The order went into effect on June 5, limiting asylum processing when encounters with migrants between ports of entry reach 2,500 per day, with current figures cited as around 4,000 daily.

Immigrant Advocacy Groups Sue Biden Administration Over Asylum Restrictions

Immigrant advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center, and Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) have sued the Biden administration over its recent directive halting asylum claims at the southern border. This is the first legal challenge to Biden’s border crackdown.

“We were left with no choice but to file this lawsuit,” stated Lee Gelernt, an attorney for the ACLU, arguing the directive is identical to a Trump-era ban.

The Biden directive, issued last week, limits asylum processing once migrant encounters reach 2,500 per day. The policy, which instantly went into effect with current figures around 4,000 daily, will remain until daily figures drop to or below 1,500.

Despite the Biden administration’s expectation of record deportation levels, advocacy groups argue the crackdown violates federal immigration law among other issues.

“The United States has long sheltered refugees seeking a haven from persecution. While Congress has placed some limitations on the right to seek asylum… it has never permitted the Executive Branch to categorically ban asylum based on where a noncitizen enters the country,” the groups stated in their lawsuit.

Biden invoked Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, much like the Trump administration before him, which allows a president to restrict entries of certain migrants deemed “detrimental” to national interest.

The Biden administration insists their directive differs from Trump’s due to its humanitarian exemptions like victims of human trafficking, unaccompanied minors, and those suffering severe medical emergencies.

In response to the lawsuit, a Homeland Security spokesperson defended the new border rule, stating it is lawful, necessary for border security and “is already having an impact.”

Under Biden’s directive, migrants failing to express fear of returning to their home countries face immediate removal, potential reentry bans, or criminal prosecution.

The lawsuit emphasizes that asking migrants to express fear places an unreasonable demand on individuals who may be intimidated, exhausted, ill, or traumatized.

Migrants using the CBP One app to schedule an entry appointment at an official border crossing point are exempt from these asylum restrictions. However, advocacy groups argue that many migrants lack the necessary resources to effectively use the app.

The National Immigrant Justice Center, Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, Jenner & Block LLP, ACLU of the District of Columbia, and Texas Civil Rights Project join the ACLU in bringing the lawsuit against the Biden administration.

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