President Biden’s New Asylum

President Biden's recent effort to deal with immigration issues on the southern border has been through an executive order. At first, Biden had a bipartisan agreement that tied Ukraine funding to more stringent immigration measures. This provided him with political coverage for his administration to impose some pretty restrictive policies on the border. But the deal would eventually be dropped by Republicans so that Biden would not receive that particular policy win. The Ukraine funding would eventually go through the Senate as a standalone measure.

Biden has issued an executive order that would limit asylum claims by cutting them off when the number of illegal border crossings hits 2,500 a day and only restart standard processing when the number falls under 1,500 a day. This is a measure popular with Americans. Polls show a majority support tougher restrictions on granting asylum. But this risks angering crucial parts of the Democratic base, particularly young people, Black voters, and Hispanics, who are less favorable to stringent asylum policies.

The executive order is also likely to be challenged in the courts. The right to seek asylum is protected by law, and other such orders by former President Trump were frequently overturned by courts. Experts have questioned the effectiveness of such an order without additional resources and authorization from Congress. Despite this, Biden has decided to go ahead with it, reflecting a strategy to tackle the border crisis and its political fallout, even if it yields just a temporary solution and is likely to be struck down in court.

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