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Biden unexpectedly liked Trump's idea regarding illegal immigrants: the White House wants to introduce a transit ban for asylum seekers

Top White House officials and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) want to enforce a partial asylum ban as the administration prepares to repeal Section 42, reports CBS.

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Section 42 is a public health executive order that allowed US border authorities to quickly remove hundreds of thousands of migrants, mostly to Mexico, without allowing them to seek asylum.

A proposed future policy that would bar some migrants from seeking asylum in the US unless they previously sought protection elsewhere has not received final approval from the administration, according to sources.

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Marsha Espinosa, a spokeswoman for DHS, called reports of the policy change inaccurate, saying "no such decisions were made."

"The Administration is committed to continuing to secure our borders while respecting the safe, orderly and humane processing of migrants," Espinosa added. "It will remain in effect when Section 42 is repealed."

The administration also considered expanding the processing of asylum seekers at ports of entry along the southern border, as well as a program that would allow some Venezuelans to legally enter the US at airports if they have financial sponsors in the US.

On November 15, a federal judge declared the Section 42 policy illegal and then gave the Biden administration until December 21 to end the policy, which was first enforced under President Donald Trump in March 2020. The Justice Department said Dec. 2 that the administration will decide whether to appeal the court's decision by Dec. 7.

While it was always intended to be a temporary, emergency measure, the repeal of Section 42 raised concerns about more migrants with limited federal government capacity to process them. Republican lawmakers and some moderate Democrats have raised concerns about the administration's ability to deal with the large influx of illegal crossings.

In fiscal year 2022, over 12 months, US Customs and Border Protection stopped migrants more than 2,3 million times, a record. Although many of these meetings were related to re-crossing the border. During that time, U.S. border officials carried out more than 1 million Section 42 deportations, deporting most of the adult Mexicans and Central Americans they processed, according to federal data.

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The consideration of restrictions on granting asylum has alarmed advocates of asylum seekers. They called on the Biden administration to abandon containment-oriented policies. Such a policy, they say, ignores international and domestic refugee law, which allows migrants to claim humanitarian protection even if they entered the country illegally.

In 2019, the Trump administration introduced a similar policy, known as a "no-transit" policy, to deny most migrants the right to seek asylum in the US. But the policy was ultimately rejected by a federal court.

"If it's a Trump transit ban or something like that, we're going to sue immediately, like we did during the Trump administration," said Lee Gelernt, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who disputed the asylum restriction in 2019.

The US asylum system was designed to protect migrants fleeing persecution because of their race, nationality, political opinion, religion, or social group membership. But a growing backlog of cases has undermined the government's ability to make timely decisions on asylum cases. The delays have put asylum seekers in limbo and created an incentive for other migrants to use the system to work in the US.

For months, the Biden administration has publicly said it is preparing to repeal Section 42, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tried to repeal this spring. This attempt was blocked by legal action from the Republican-led State.

The DHS plan released at the time called for more resources and personnel on the southern border, increased cooperation with migrant service groups, crackdown on smugglers, and a joint effort with Latin American countries to curb mass migration to the US.

The plan also called for increased prosecution of some migrants, including those who repeatedly crossed the border illegally. It was also planned to introduce accelerated expulsion mechanisms. They allow US border agents to quickly deport migrants who do not seek asylum or who cannot establish a credible fear of persecution.

In a telephone call to the Latin American press last week, Blas Nunez Neto, the US Department of Homeland Security's acting assistant secretary for border and immigration policy, said the US would seek to prosecute migrants who try to evade border patrol. And also deport those who enter the country illegally under an expedited removal procedure that includes a 5-year exile from the US.

However, as with Section 42, the US may not be able to deport all migrants under the expedited removal process for logistical and diplomatic reasons. Countries such as Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela have restricted or rejected US deportations in recent years.

Mexico, on the other hand, has generally only accepted the return of its own citizens and migrants from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. In mid-October, Mexico agreed to accept some Venezuelans expelled under Section 42, but that legal authority is set to expire at the end of this month.

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Nunez Neto said last week that the US can now carry out deportations to Nicaragua. He is also in talks with Mexico and other countries to see if they can facilitate the return of Venezuelan migrants under US immigration law.

The Biden administration's policy of weeding out baseless asylum claims has shown signs of success. Thanks to her, 50% of the applications of asylum seekers were rejected at the initial stage of the verification. And asylum was granted to eligible migrants for months, not years. But the program has been implemented on a very limited scale since its launch in June.

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