Biden threatens to shut down US-Mexico border in alarming crackdown on asylum rights

Washington DC - President Joe Biden is reportedly mulling an executive order to severely limit the number of people who may cross the US-Mexico border to seek asylum.

President Joe Biden is reportedly considering executive action to effectively shut down the US-Mexico border.
President Joe Biden is reportedly considering executive action to effectively shut down the US-Mexico border.  © Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP

The executive order to effectively shut down the border would rely on the president's authority under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, a mechanism repeatedly utilized by ex-president Donald Trump to impose immigration restrictions.

According to Axios, the order may come down before the end of the month.

"We're examining whether or not I have that power," Biden said in a Spanish-language Univision interview that aired Tuesday night.

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There is "no guarantee" Biden can take the step without congressional approval, but that isn't stopping him from pushing forward anyway.

"Some are suggesting that I should just go ahead and try it," the president said. "And if I get shut down by the court, I get shut down by the court."

Biden cracks down on the right to seek asylum

Biden's remarks are the latest in an alarming crackdown on immigrants' rights, including the right to seek asylum.

The president in early 2023 proposed a policy to bar migrants at the US-Mexico border from receiving asylum in the US if they do not first claim asylum in a country they passed through. His administration last fall announced plans to waive 26 environmental laws in order to fast-track border wall construction.

Recently, Biden and many Democrats in Congress pushed an immigration package that would have severely clamped down on the ability to claim asylum and further militarized the borderlands region. The legislation would have permitted the president to shut the border.

The right to seek asylum is internationally recognized in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Refugee Convention of 1951, and domestically in the Refugee Act of 1980.

Cover photo: Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP

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