Biden Admin Faces Major Legal Challenge Over Immigration Action

Biden Admin Faces Major Legal Challenge Over Immigration Order

( – President Joe Biden issued A Proclamation on Securing the Border while simultaneously releasing new immigration rules through the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice on June 4. Immigrants’ rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP), Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, and National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC), filed a federal suit on Wednesday, June 12, on behalf of the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) and Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center (Las Americas) seeking to block the new rule.

In their complaint, plaintiffs say that neither Congress nor the courts have given the Executive Branch authority “to categorically ban asylum.” They claim the new rule violates existing law and deprives a significant segment of immigrants of accessing asylum protections.

Additionally, new screening procedures leave immigrants seeking asylum at greater risk of deportation back to situations where they faced persecution or torture. The petitioners claim that new schedules for those who qualify for an interview to show a “significant probability” of torture or persecution if they return to their country of origin now only allow those immigrants as few as four hours to find and consult with legal counsel, instead of 24 or 48 hours, as they had before.

In a statement, the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project Deputy Director Lee Gelernt said the Biden Administration left them “no alternative but to sue.” His agency also sued when the Trump administration tried a similar ban. He pointed out that the courts were clear that the Executive branch “lacks unilateral authority to override Congress” regarding asylum.

The new rule takes effect whenever daily border encounters between ports of entry exceed 2,500 for more than seven days. In that case, the US will turn away noncitizens who cross the southern border between ports of entry, with some exceptions, as noted in the president’s proclamation.

Republicans have called the proclamation and new rule an election-year stunt, while progressive Democrats have decried them as unreasonable. Biden was adamant that he would have preferred the bipartisan Senate plan presented in February that House GOP leaders quashed.

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