Biden Issues Executive Order to Address Migrant Surge at US-Mexico Border

President Joe Biden has issued a sweeping executive order aimed at curbing record migrant arrivals at the US-Mexico border, which have left him politically vulnerable in an election year. According to Yahoo News

Under the order, which took effect at midnight, officials can quickly remove migrants entering the US illegally without processing their asylum requests once a daily threshold is met and the border is “overwhelmed,” according to a White House statement.

Rival Republicans argue that Biden has not gone far enough, while some of his Democratic allies and the United Nations have expressed concern. A UN refugee agency spokeswoman emphasized that those fearing persecution should have access to safe territory.

Biden discussed the order at an event with several border town mayors, stating, “This action will help us gain control of our border.” He criticized Republicans for not passing bipartisan immigration reform and urged left-wing critics to “be patient.”

Activists have criticized the order, with Jennie Murray, president and CEO of the National Immigration Forum, saying, “It’s unfortunate that politics are driving the immigration conversation in an increasingly restrictive direction.” told by CBS

Over 6.4 million migrants have been stopped crossing into the US illegally during Biden’s administration. Although arrival numbers have decreased this year, experts believe the trend is unlikely to continue.

Mexican media have portrayed the move as one of Biden’s toughest policies, though President Andrés Manuel López Obrador downplayed the issue, citing economic and cultural exchanges that make a border closure “impossible.” Authorities in Tijuana raised concerns about overcrowding in shelters if asylum seekers are denied entry to the US.

About a dozen advocates and Democratic lawmakers held a press conference outside the US Capitol, criticizing Biden’s decision. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, called the executive action a “step in the wrong direction,” while Arizona Congressman Ruben Gallego noted there was still “more work to do.”

Donald Trump’s campaign argued that the order “is for amnesty, not border security.” The White House stated that the new order will be in effect when high levels of encounters at the southern border exceed the capacity to deliver timely consequences.

The actions announced include the use of a 1952 law, known as 212(f), which allows a US president to “suspend the entry” of foreigners if their arrival is “detrimental to the interests” of the country. This law was previously used by the Trump administration to impose travel bans and restrict asylum for migrants crossing illegally.

Ms. Murray expressed concern about the use of 212(f) authority. Ms. Jayapal noted that while the executive order differs from Trump’s actions, it still poses a risk of legal challenges and potential violations of US laws. Reuters says

The Biden administration plans to defend the new policies in court against challenges from activists or Republican-led states. The restrictions will be triggered when the seven-day average for daily crossings hits 2,500. The border will reopen to asylum seekers only when the average figure drops to 1,500 over a seven-day period, with other measures aimed at expediting immigration cases and removals for those without a legal basis to remain.

Asylum processing at ports of entry will continue under the order, with about 1,500 asylum seekers processed daily, primarily through appointments set up using the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) app known as CBP One.