Biden’s Asylum Limitations Maintained by Appeals Court

by Gabriel Martinez
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On Thursday, an appeals court upheld a measure limiting asylum at the southern border. This verdict represents a significant victory for the Biden administration, who defended the rule as crucial to ensuring stability along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The updated rule substantially complicates the process of being awarded asylum unless applicants initially seek refuge in a transit country en route to the U.S., or apply online. However, the rule permits exceptions and does not apply to unaccompanied minors.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has granted a brief stay against a previous lower court decision that deemed the policy unlawful and commanded the government to terminate its use by the upcoming Monday. The government swiftly approached the appeals court for the rule to persist while the larger legal disputes concerning its legitimacy are addressed.

The fresh asylum rule was introduced in May, concurrent with the cessation of a distinct policy known as Title 42, which enabled the government to rapidly eject migrants without asylum consideration, ostensibly to protect American citizens from the coronavirus.

The administration expressed apprehension about a potential influx of migrants post-Title 42 as migrants would now be eligible to apply for asylum. The government posited that the new asylum rule was a vital instrument for migration management.

Human rights organizations contested this, claiming that the new rule imperiled migrants by confining them in northern Mexico while they await an appointment via the CBP One app. This app is used by the government to permit migrants to approach the border and request asylum. They contended that individuals have the right to apply for asylum irrespective of their point or method of border crossing, and criticized the app for its glitches.

The organizations also argued that the government was overvaluing the impact of the new rule in curbing migration. They highlighted that with the discontinuation of Title 42, the U.S. returned to the Title 8 processing protocol for migrants, which imposes severe consequences for deported individuals, including a five-year ban on reentry to the U.S. These repercussions, not the asylum rule, have primarily deterred migration post-May 11, according to the organizations.

The groups stated in court documents, “The government lacks evidence demonstrating that the Rule itself is responsible for the decline in port crossings following the expiration of Title 42.”

Nonetheless, the government maintains that the rule is a central element of its immigration strategy, aiming to promote legal routes to the U.S. while imposing stern penalties for violations. The government underscored the “immense harm” that would result from the rule’s discontinuation.

The rule is deemed “critical for the systematic administration of the country’s immigration system at the southwestern border,” according to government documentation.

Furthermore, the government claimed that preserving the rule while the lawsuit proceeds in the forthcoming months would avoid a “policy seesaw” situation, which would involve Homeland Security officials processing asylum seekers without the rule, only to return to its use should the government eventually win the case based on its merits.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Biden’s Asylum Rule

What is the updated asylum rule by the Biden administration?

The updated rule makes it much harder for people to be granted asylum unless they first seek protection in a country they are traveling through on their way to the U.S., or apply online. The rule allows for exceptions and does not apply to children traveling alone.

Which court upheld the asylum rule?

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the rule, providing a temporary stay against a lower court decision that had deemed the policy unlawful.

When was the new asylum rule put in place?

The new asylum rule was introduced in May 2023, concurrent with the discontinuation of a different policy called Title 42, which had allowed the government to rapidly expel migrants without considering their asylum claims.

Why is the government arguing in favor of this rule?

The government maintains that the rule is a central element of its immigration policy, aiming to encourage people to use legal pathways to come to the U.S. while imposing stern penalties for those who don’t. The government underscored the potential harm that would result from discontinuing the rule.

What are human rights organizations arguing against the rule?

Human rights organizations argue that the new rule imperils migrants by leaving them in northern Mexico as they wait for an appointment via the CBP One app. They contend that individuals have the right to seek asylum irrespective of their point or method of border crossing. They also argue that the government is overvaluing the impact of the new rule in controlling migration, suggesting that other factors, such as severe consequences for deported individuals under Title 8 processing, have a more significant impact.

More about Biden’s Asylum Rule

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