The United States President, Joe Biden has issued a proposal to restrict tens of thousands of asylum seekers arriving at the country’s southern border with Mexico.
The administration of Biden unveiled the new rule on Tuesday. The proposal would give border officials the power to turn away asylum seekers who “circumvent available, established pathways to lawful migration” or who fail to seek protection in the countries they travelled through to arrive in the US.
In addition, individuals who violate the rule would be barred from re-entering the US for five years.
Described as an “emergency measure”, the proposal anticipates the end of Title 42, a controversial policy implemented in 2020 under former Republican President Donald Trump that has been used to expel asylum seekers in the name of public health.
Aljazeera reports that in a joint statement on Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) described the proposed policy as a “temporary” measure designed to address the spike in border crossings “anticipated after the lifting of the Title 42 Order”, an act that has yet to occur.
But while Biden, a Democrat, has sought to distance himself from his predecessor’s border policies, critics denounced Tuesday’s announcement as a continuation of Trump’s approach to immigration and security.
“Our courts have long recognised that a person’s decision not to seek asylum while in transit to the US does not override their need for protection here,” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) tweeted in response to the new rule. “We successfully fought President Trump on a similar ban in the courts — President Biden’s should not move forward.”
The Biden administration, meanwhile, described the policy as an opportunity to “incentivize the use of new and existing lawful processes and disincentivize dangerous border crossings”. It also announced it would be accepting public feedback on the proposal for 30 days.