The Biden administration is angling to adopt an immigration restriction policy that resembles one put in place during former President Donald Trump’s term, according to a Wednesday report.
The proposed rule would bar migrants from seeking asylum in the United States if they have not pursued legal pathways for asylum or sought asylum in a third country. The rule was created in response to the end of Title 42 immigration restrictions, according to administration officials. It bears a resemblance to a policy implemented by the Trump administration, which similarly prohibited asylum seekers who had not already sought asylum in another country.
“The proposed rule would encourage migrants to avail themselves of lawful, safe, and orderly pathways into the United States, or otherwise to seek asylum or other protection in countries through which they travel, thereby reducing reliance on human smuggling networks that exploit migrants for financial gain,” the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice wrote in a notice of proposed rulemaking Tuesday.
“It would do so by introducing a rebuttable presumption of asylum ineligibility for certain noncitizens who neither avail themselves of a lawful, safe, and orderly pathway to the United States nor seek asylum or other protection in a country through which they travel,” the notice continued.
“In the absence of such a measure, which would be implemented on a temporary basis, the number of migrants expected to travel without authorization to the United States is expected to increase significantly, to a level that risks undermining the Departments’ continued ability to safely, effectively, and humanely enforce and administer U.S. immigration law, including the asylum system, in the face of exceptionally challenging circumstances,” the two departments continued.
The departments expressed hope that the newly proposed restriction on asylum-seekers will result in fewer migrants crossing the southern border. They believe this would weaken human smuggling networks and alleviate overcrowding in border facilities. The departments have expressed confidence that reducing the number of migrants will allow for more efficient and humane migrant processing.
On May 11th, the same day that the Biden administration plans to end the COVID-19 national and public health emergencies, new restrictions will take effect following a public comment period. These restrictions, which permit authorities to reject migrants due to public health concerns, are known as Title 42 restrictions and will also come to an end.
The newly imposed restrictions are comparable to a previous asylum ban introduced during the Trump administration, which was a source of controversy and faced significant legal opposition throughout Trump’s tenure. Courts blocked the Trump-era bans in 2018 and 2020, and while a final rule was implemented on Trump’s last day in office, a judge subsequently overturned it.
The new rules have faced criticism from Democrats and immigration advocates who argue that they are similar to policies implemented by the Trump administration. However, the Biden administration has dismissed these criticisms, stating that they have established alternative methods for migrants to seek asylum. In January, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas rejected the comparisons, claiming to The Hill that his plan was based on a “rebuttable presumption of ineligibility,” which he asserted is distinct from the Trump-era policies.