‘Appalled’: Dozens of Democrats slam Biden’s border policies | US-Mexico Border News

Dozens of Democratic lawmakers in the United States are calling on President Joe Biden to reverse new restrictions on who can apply for asylum at the country’s southern border, say a new ban is open. recently wide. deportation policy violate national and international law.

Nearly 80 lawmakers signed an open letter to Biden on Thursday, calling on the president to “fulfill his pledge to restore and protect the economy.” the rights of asylum seekers and asylum”.

“It is unconscionable that asylum seekers have no choice but to sleep on the streets of El Paso, in overcrowded shelters in Juarez, or in tents in Reynosa, but new asylum restrictions for migrants will not solve this problem,” the letter (PDF) read.

“We believe your administration can and must continue to open legal avenues for migrants and refugees to enter the United States — without further stripping them of their right to seek asylum at the border. me.”

In the first day of this month, Biden announced that up to 30,000 asylum seekers from Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Haiti who come to the US-Mexico border each month to seek protection will be sent back to Mexico.

In return, the White House said the US would accept up to 30,000 people a month from the four countries and grant them work permits for two years, as long as they have a sponsor in the US and pass a background check.

Human rights groups have criticized the plan, saying it is an extension of Title 42, a Border policy is widely criticized which US officials used more 2.5 million times from March 2020 to rapidly deport the majority of migrants and refugees arriving at the border.

Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump Issue Title 42 in a purported effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but US authorities say the restriction is no longer necessary on public health grounds.

However, despite efforts by the Biden administration to end the policy, several Republican-led states sued to uphold Title 42 amid rising asylum seekers arrive at the border – and it’s still in effect.

Earlier this week, Texas and 19 other GOP-led states also sued (PDF) for a new program that allows 30,000 asylum seekers per month from Haiti, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba to apply for “parole” — a temporary stay in the United States for up to two years.

“Every state in America, especially border states like Texas, is being crushed by the impact of illegal immigration,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. declare announced the case. The new plan “will only make this immigration crisis worse,” he said.

But the Biden administration has defended its policies, saying the number of “encounters” with Cuba, HaitianVenezuelan and Nicaraguan asylum seekers at the border have dropped dramatically since the new amnesty program was announced.

The Department of Homeland Security said Wednesday that illegal border crossings between ports of entry fell 97 percent between December and January, to a seven-day average of 115 per day. on January 24 – down from 3,367 cases on December 11.

Asylum migrants, mainly from Venezuela and Cuba, are waiting to be transported by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.
Asylum seekers wait to be transferred after crossing the Rio Grande River to enter the US from Mexico at Eagle Pass, Texas, on July 14, 2022 [File: Go Nakamura/Reuters]

“These expanded border enforcement measures are working,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement. declare.

“It is inconceivable that some of the countries that have benefited from these highly effective enforcement measures are seeking to contain them and cause more irregular migration on our southern border. “

In recent weeks, about 1,700 people from Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua have come to the US through the new parole program, a senior US official said this week, as reported by Reuters news agency. The official also said thousands of others had been approved for travel.

But for years, rights advocates have denounced the US government’s “deterrence” strategies at the border, saying migrants and refugees are merely fleeing desperate situations and limit. forcing them to go on more adventurous journeys in search of safety.

On Thursday, top Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and one of the the signers of the lettersaid that “anyone who tells you that the only way to secure our border is to punish asylum seekers is lying.”

“That’s why we’re appalled to see President Biden copy President Trump immigration strategy. The right to seek asylum is respected in both international and domestic law,” Menendez told a news conference alongside other lawmakers.

Democrats have also questioned Biden’s administration plan to issue a rule requires migrants and refugees to apply for protection in transit countries, effectively preventing them from accessing asylum in the United States.

Trump tried to impose this so-called “transit ban” during his time in the White House, but US courts rejected such efforts on many occasions.

“Today, we ask the president to recommit to his values, because no matter how much the Biden administration revives Trump’s policies, Republicans will continue to hinder any effort to really reform our border processing and modernize our immigration system,” Menendez said.

He urged Biden “to disobey his transit ban and continue to fight to end Title 42 in court, while working with Congress – not against us – to ultimately dedicate the resources we need to process our mass migration challenge one and forever”.

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