Biden's administration agreed to receive 250 asylum-seekers daily
As part of negotiations on the case in federal court, the administration of US President Joe Biden agreed to allow 7 asylum seekers stranded in Mexico to enter the United States every month. This was announced by the leading lawyer of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who oversees this trial, writes CBS News.
Under the new agreement, the Biden administration has pledged to receive up to 250 asylum seekers every day who are deemed vulnerable by defense groups and to allow them to pursue legal cases on American soil.
Those eligible will be exempted from Title 42, a Donald Trump-era edict that keeps most single adult immigrants and some families with children expelled from the United States without being able to seek asylum.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been making exceptions to Title 42 for several months now. However, Lee Gelernt, who negotiated on behalf of the ACLU, noted that under the agreement, the Biden administration has pledged to create a "streamlined process for evaluating and handling" requests to keep families with children and adults enter the United States.
Recently, US border guards allowed no more than 35 families of immigrants deemed vulnerable in Mexico to enter the United States. According to Gelernt, 2 asylum seekers have been admitted to the United States to date as a result of negotiations between the ACLU and the Biden administration.
Families and individuals who are allowed legal entry into the United States under this process are scheduled to meet at designated ports of entry. But while still in Mexico, these people are being tested for COVID-19.
Expanding the asylum seeker's out-of-case process in the United States is the latest concession the Biden administration has made in its negotiations with the ACLU. Recall: The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the government in an attempt to stop the expulsion of immigrant families.
Last week, US officials ended the practice of sending families of immigrants encountered in southern Texas hundreds of miles from El Paso or San Diego to be sent to Mexico.
While Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said it had stopped shipping due to operational needs, Gelernt confirmed that the Biden administration had agreed to suspend the policy as part of negotiations.
During a Senate committee hearing last week, Senator Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, insisted that the head of the US Department of Health, Alejandro Mallorcas, not stop the expulsion "due to pressure from leftist groups" or perhaps even the Biden administration.
Mallorcas said DHS does not make political decisions due to outside pressure.
DHS spokeswoman Sarah Peck has confirmed agreements with the ACLU and said the department will receive approximately 250 vulnerable asylum seekers daily.
“We are working to optimize the system for identifying and lawfully handling particularly vulnerable individuals who require exemptions from Title 42 for humanitarian reasons,” she said.
Peck confirmed that DHS initially suspended the policy of transferring migrant families across the southern border based on “operational needs,” and then agreed to continue the suspension as part of negotiations with the ACLU. But she noted that DHS can renew it "if it sees fit."
In November 2020, Gelernt persuaded U.S. District Judge Emmett Sullivan to join two other federal judges in ruling that expulsion of unaccompanied children under Title 42 rule was likely illegal. Sullivan's order to block the expulsion of unaccompanied children was canceled in late January, but the Biden administration exempted the children from this procedure.
In February, the ACLU agreed to suspend a separate family expulsion trial for talks with the Biden administration. The suspension has been extended several times to give the parties more time to negotiate, but Gelernt said the ACLU's position is that Title 42 should be scrapped altogether.
“Hopefully, these concessions will save lives, but they will not replace the abolition of Title 42 and the full restoration of the asylum procedure,” Gelernt said.
The process that the Biden administration has pledged to expand is different from the one that led to the admission of more than 10 asylum seekers - those who were previously told by the Trump administration to wait in Mexico for their trials.
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Unlike asylum seekers who were processed under the Trump-era “Stay in Mexico” policy, immigrants enjoying Title 42 exemptions do not have to wait in court because they are not allowed to seek asylum in the United States.
Despite the exceptions, Biden administration officials said they would continue Title 42 policies for the foreseeable future by repeatedly declaring the southern border "closed."
During the first three full months of President Biden's tenure, US officials carried out more than 295 immigrant transfers along the southern Title 000 border, expelling 42 immigrant parents and children traveling as families, according to government figures.
However, in recent weeks, US border agents have allowed most immigrant families to remain in the US while their cases are pending, while accusing Mexico of refusing to accept families with children under the age of 7.
About 65% of families of immigrants encountered along the southern border in April were processed under US immigration laws, but not expelled under Title 42 provisions.
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