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US Proposes Quicker Asylum Rejections: Debate Ensues

Photo : Reuters

The US Department of Homeland Security has introduced a new asylum policy aimed at expediting the rejection process for certain asylum seekers apprehended along the Mexico-US border. This decision by the Biden administration comes against the backdrop of immigration emerging as a central theme in the upcoming election.

Under President Joe Biden's leadership, the Department of Homeland Security announced a policy shift targeting quicker rejections for asylum seekers found illegally crossing the US-Mexico border, particularly those with criminal backgrounds or deemed to pose a national security risk. This marks a departure from Biden's traditionally empathetic approach to handling illegal immigration, reflecting a response to mounting concerns among voters regarding border security.

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The move, as reported by Reuters, is seen as a strategic maneuver by the Biden administration to address the issue of illegal border crossings, albeit in a limited capacity. Immigration has assumed heightened significance in the lead-up to the anticipated 2024 presidential campaign, widely speculated to feature a rematch between Biden and former President Donald Trump, both seeking to leverage border-related concerns for political advantage.

Contrasting sharply with Biden's approach, Trump has been vocal in his criticism of the administration's handling of border policies, accusing Biden of laxity in addressing illegal crossings. Trump's assertion gained traction with reports, including one from the Daily Mail shared by entrepreneur Elon Musk, suggesting that the Biden administration facilitated the entry of hundreds of thousands of migrants via overnight flights, a move characterized by Musk as tantamount to "importing voters" and posing a national security threat akin to the 9/11 attacks.

The proposed regulation under Biden's administration seeks to empower asylum officers to expedite the denial process for migrants with significant criminal records, ties to terrorism, or deemed to pose public safety risks. This accelerated review process, slated to occur within days rather than the protracted timelines of the current system, is expected to impact a fraction of asylum seekers, potentially numbering in the thousands annually, relative to the larger influx observed between October 2023 and March 2024.

President Biden's stance on illegal immigration has evolved in response to mounting public apprehension, with his administration now contemplating measures to fast-track asylum rejections for individuals deemed ineligible. While Biden has refrained from instituting executive actions to block asylum seekers at the border, his administration's proposed regulation signals a shift towards stricter border enforcement, aligning with voter sentiments and countering Republican criticism.

The proposed regulation is set for public comment on Monday, with plans for finalization later this year. In addition to expediting asylum rejections, US asylum officers will be tasked with assessing whether asylum seekers could have sought refuge in other parts of their home country before embarking on the journey to the US, marking a comprehensive approach to border management under the Biden administration.

May 10, 2024 6:01 p.m. 445

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