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Asylum 'No Longer Exists' Under New Border Policies

In the days since the Biden administration proposed a plan that amounts to an endorsement of the Trump administration's approach to political asylum claims, one thing that has become clear is how fundamental a shift this marks in U.S. immigration policy, the Los Angeles Times reports. Public outcry about the new policy restricting asylum claims has been muted, even among Democrats, and most of the public opposition has come from consistent critics of President Biden's border policies. But the significance of the shift is not lost on Biden administration officials, some of whom privately acknowledge the demise of the pre-Trump asylum system. “Asylum at the border no longer exists as we previously thought of it,” said one Biden administration official who, like others, spoke anonymously to discuss the issue freely. A second Biden official echoed the comment, explaining that “the state of asylum is badly damaged.”

Former President Trump and his administration spent years arguing that people who cross the border without permission should not be able to easily apply for asylum in the United States. That decades-old practice no longer works, Trump and his team insisted. International and U.S. law has long allowed people who cross borders to seek protection from persecution. But if put into effect, Biden’s proposal would make it very difficult for migrants who travel through another country on their way to the U.S. and then cross the border without permission to win asylum here. Under Biden’s proposal, immigrants who cross the southern border without authorization after traveling through a third country and have not been denied asylum in a country on their way to the U.S. would be presumed ineligible for asylum. Overcoming such a presumption is extremely difficult. The policy would roll back America’s longstanding commitments to people seeking asylum, placing strict limits on where and how those who flee persecution can apply for protection. “We are moving toward a system where it is going to be much more difficult for anyone who crosses the border without authorization to get asylum,” said Yael Schacher, director for the Americas and Europe at Refugees International. “We will never go back to what it was before Trump,” she said. “That’s what it feels like.”


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