Democrats decry Biden executive order turning away some asylum seekers

<span>An asylum-seeking migrant from China rests on a rock while waiting to be transported by the US border patrol after crossing the border from Mexico into Jacumba Hot Springs, California, on 4 June 2024.</span><span>Photograph: Go Nakamura/Reuters</span>
An asylum-seeking migrant from China rests on a rock while waiting to be transported by the US border patrol after crossing the border from Mexico into Jacumba Hot Springs, California, on 4 June 2024.Photograph: Go Nakamura/Reuters

Progressive Democrats and immigration advocates have shared their outrage after Biden signed an executive order on Tuesday that would turn away some asylum seekers.

Biden’s order will temporarily shut down the US-Mexico border to asylum seekers attempting to enter the country legally when authorities have determined that the border is “overwhelmed”.

The president said the order comes after Republicans rejected a bipartisan immigration deal that would have changed several areas of US immigration policy.

Related: Biden issues order limiting asylum seekers from crossing US-Mexico border

“Today, I’m moving past Republican obstruction and using the executive authorities available to me as president to do what I can on my own to address the border,” Biden said during remarks on the order on Tuesday.

“Frankly, I would have preferred to address this issue through bipartisan legislation, because that’s the only way to actually get the kind of system we have now that’s broken fixed – to hire more border patrol agents, more asylum officers, more judges.”

US representative Nanette Barragán of California, who chairs the Congressional Hispanic caucus, said Tuesday morning that she was “disappointed” in Biden’s direction with immigration policy, the New Republic reported.

California representative Judy Chu, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American caucus, said she was “disappointed at the enforcement-only strategies” announced by Biden.

“Rather than address humanitarian issues at the border effectively and with the nuance they deserve, today’s actions will gut protections for countless migrants exercising their legal right to claim asylum,” she said.

US representative Raúl Grijalva, whose Arizona district borders Mexico, said that the order is a “significant departure from President Biden’s promise of a more humane and just approach to immigration”.

He added: “It tramples on the universal right to claim asylum and prevents migrants from attempting to legally access safety and security in the United States. It is ripe for legal challenges and antithetical to our values.”

The American Civil Liberties Union denounced Biden’s executive order and said they will be challenging it in court.

“The Biden administration just announced an executive order that will severely restrict people’s legal right to seek asylum, putting tens of thousands of lives at risk,” the organization said in a post on X.

Meanwhile, other Democrats have welcomed Biden’s actions as a necessary step to address the humanitarian crisis at the border.

Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio told the Washington Post that he believes it is the “right direction”, adding: “I want to see more.”

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