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Biden: 'It's Going To Be Chaotic' At Border Under New Asylum Rules

The Biden administration on Thursday will begin denying asylum to migrants who show up at the U.S.-Mexico border without first applying online or seeking protection in a country they passed through, the Associated Press reports. New measures are meant to crack down on illegal border crossings while creating new legal pathways, including a plan to open 100 regional migration hubs across the Western Hemisphere, officials said. While stopping short of a total ban, the measure imposes severe limitations on asylum for those crossing illegally who didn’t first seek a legal pathway. The rule was announced in February; the finalized version takes effect Thursday. It’s almost certain to face legal challenges. In 2019, then-President Trump pursued similar but stricter measures, but a federal appeals court prevented them from taking effect. U.S. officials also plan to open regional hubs around the hemisphere, where migrants may apply to go to the U.S., Canada or Spain. Two hubs were previously announced in Guatemala and Colombia. It’s unclear where the other locations would be.

The measures are meant to alter fundamentally how migrants go to the U.S. southern border. COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions that are ending this week had allowed border officials to return people quickly, and they did so 2.8 million times. Even as the restrictions, known as Title 42, were in effect, border crossings rose to all-time highs. Congress has failed to make any major immigration law changes in decades. U.S. officials are bracing for large numbers of migrants who may try to cross the border this week, possibly to circumvent the new rules. Others were waiting until after Title 42 goes away, thinking their chances might be better. Once the change happens, migrants caught crossing illegally will not be allowed to return for five years, and they face criminal prosecution if they do. Roughly 24,000 law enforcement officers were stationed along the 1,951-mile border with Mexico. An additional 1,500 active-duty military troops are being sent to back up U.S. Customs and Border Protection but will not interact with migrants. Some 2,500 National Guard troops are already there, tasked to help out CBP. Biden said Tuesday his administration was working to make the change orderly. “But it remains to be seen,” he told reporters. “It’s going to be chaotic for a while.”


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