Biden’s asylum shut-down

The Biden Administration executive order setting a numerical threshold to shut down asylum is a performative exercise in futility. It is also cruel.

“This “asylum shutdown” will deny, in most cases, the right to seek asylum for migrants apprehended on the U.S. side of the border with Mexico. It goes into effect at 12:01 AM on June 5, and will remain in effect until two weeks after Border Patrol’s weekly average of migrant apprehensions drops below 1,500 per day. That hasn’t happened since July 2020, in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic; in fact, 58 percent of all months this century (172 of 296) have seen daily averages above 1,500.

“Even then, the “asylum shutdown” would resume should the daily average again exceed 2,500 per day. It is over 3,500 per day right now; in fact, the U.S.-Mexico border has crossed that threshold in 110 of the past 296 months: 37 percent of this century.”

The fact that there *are* such things as border apprehensions gives the lie to the anti-immigration “open border” bleating. If you are apprehending, the border isn’t “open,” by definition.

The Biden policy is also illegal:

“The Refugee Act of 1980 (enshrined as Section 208 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, INA) states that any non-citizen on U.S. soil has the right to request asylum if they fear for their life or freedom “on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” They must receive due process for their asylum request regardless of how they arrived in the United States.This law placed the United States in compliance with the Refugee Convention of 1951, which emerged after World War II when nations pledged never to repeat that era’s tragic turnbacks of people fleeing extermination campaigns. The executive action shuts down this legal right, based not on fleeing migrants’ protection needs but on a daily number.”

Some say that asylum seekers awaiting due process are “illegal.” That’s like saying I’m a shoplifter because I took something off the shelf and am standing in the check-out line.

And besides being cruel and illegal, the Biden policy is also futile. Policy changes like this have had short-term effects, but didn’t do much to deter immigration in the longer term.

“Changes trigger a “wait and see” effect: numbers plummet temporarily as migrants (and smugglers) evaluate how a new policy will deliver consequences, and in particular, which profiles of migrants it affects the most. This “wait and see” period fades quickly as migrants adapt to the new policy, and numbers recover. In the case of Title 42, migration numbers not only recovered, they spiked to historic levels: expulsions enabled repeat attempts to cross with no consequences, while migrants from distant countries realized that their chances of expulsion were minimal. Although harsher penalties for re-entry may deter some migrants, we have seen time and time again that people fleeing for their lives will continue to seek protection in the United States, regardless of the risks.”

Look, the Biden Administration is cracking down on asylum-seekers because there’s an election coming up and they want to disarm the GOP xenophobic critics.

What would a real solution look like?

“A better policy rests on having the capacity to give asylum seekers meaningful due process in less time than our current, badly backlogged system takes. That means vastly improving the adjudication capacity of a system that today has over 4,500 immigration cases per judge. It means vastly expanding the ability to process asylum seekers who arrive at ports of entry, a function that does not need to be filled by armed, uniformed law-enforcement officers. And it means effective case-management programs to keep asylum seekers on track within the byzantine U.S. immigration system, along with expanded access to legal counsel.”

Biden’s asylum crackdown is cruel, illegal and futile