Washington wants to impose new restrictions on asylum seekers

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Washington wants to impose new restrictions for asylum seekers

In 2021, authorities in Texas had been criticized for their treatment of migrants who tried to cross the Rio Grande in order to seek asylum in the United States (File photo)

The Biden administration on Tuesday proposed new restrictions for asylum seekers, saying it wants to prevent an influx of migrants at its southern border once COVID-19 pandemic measures lift.

The new rules wanted by the government would require asylum seekers to apply in advance and not after arriving in the United States, otherwise they would be considered people who cannot claim asylum.

These rules, posted on the Federal Register for comment for 30 days before being enforced, appear to go back in part to the harsh regime instituted by Joe Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, which was ultimately struck down by the courts.

However, the Biden administration argues that absent action from Congress, this is the only way to manage the border, that up to 200 000 people try to cross every month, most in order to seek asylum.

“This administration will not allow chaos or Massive disorder at the border due to Congress's failure to act. »

— A US official on condition of anonymity

The rules would require migrants wishing to come to the United States to apply for asylum online through official CBP One app and request an appointment to see US officials or seek asylum first in a country they are traveling through to arrive at the US border.

They would apply a system already in place for migrants from Ukraine, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Haiti.

They must be implemented once a pandemic-related measure – dubbed Title 42 and which allows for the immediate deportation of migrants without visas, even potential asylum seekers – is lifted . This is scheduled for May 11.

According to officials, the new rules will be temporary and will expire after 24 months. But they did not say what they would be replaced with.

The proposed measures have been strongly criticized by migrant rights advocates.

They will close the door to countless refugees seeking safety and protection in the United States, said Abby Maxman, president of Oxfam America.

This policy is illegal, immoral, and will have a terrifying impact on children, women and men seeking safety, she added.

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