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US President Joe Biden imposes sweeping asylum ban at US-Mexico border

US President Joe Biden is expected to sign a sweeping new border measure on Tuesday that would allow authorities to quickly deport or send back to Mexico migrants caught crossing the southwest border if illegal entries surpass a certain level, according to two sources with knowledge of the move.

The measure, which would restrict access to asylum, would take effect when US Border Patrol apprehensions surpass 2 500 per day, the two sources said.

The illegal crossings would have to dip below 1 500 per day for the asylum restrictions to be lifted, one of the sources said. The restrictions are not expected to apply to unaccompanied minors. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The election-year move is expected to trigger legal challenges from immigrant and civil rights groups who have criticised Biden, a Democrat, for adopting hardline policies that mirror those of his Republican predecessor, former President Donald Trump.

Biden has toughened his approach to border security as immigration has emerged as a top issue for voting-age Americans in the run-up to the November 5 elections where he will face Trump in a rematch of the 2020 contest.

Biden took office in 2021 vowing to reverse some of Trump’s restrictive policies but grappled with record levels of migrants caught crossing illegally. Trump has criticised Biden for rolling back his policies and vowed a wide-ranging crackdown if reelected.

In advance of the announcement, Trump’s campaign issued a statement calling Biden’s executive order “amnesty, not border security” and again blaming immigrants for what he called a US crime wave.

A range of studies by academics and think tanks have shown that immigrants do not commit crimes at a higher rate than native-born Americans.

Trump himself became the first US president to be convicted of a crime on Thursday when a New York jury found him guilty of falsifying documents to cover up a payment to silence a porn star ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

The new US restrictions mirror a Biden-backed Senate bill that aimed to block migrants from claiming asylum if the number of migrants caught crossing illegally reached a certain level. The bill was crafted by a bipartisan group of senators but Republicans rejected it after Trump came out in opposition.

The number of migrants caught crossing the US-Mexico border illegally dropped in recent months, a trend US officials partly attribute to increased Mexican enforcement.

Claudia Sheinbaum was elected as Mexico’s first female president in a landslide victory on Sunday and will take office on October 1. Biden’s border restrictions could put pressure on Sheinbaum, the successor to current President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, to keep illegal border crossings down.

Source: eNCA

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