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Mayorkas defends Biden’s asylum policy against bipartisan criticism, urges Congress to take further action

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Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently defended President Joe Biden’s new executive action restricting asylum, emphasizing that it is still early and the signs are positive. The new policy, announced last Tuesday, bars migrants crossing the border illegally from seeking asylum once a daily threshold is met. Despite facing criticism from both Republicans and progressive Democrats, Mayorkas believes that the restrictions on asylum will ultimately reduce the number of people attempting to cross the border.

Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas accused Biden of “gaslighting” Americans, arguing that the new policy does not actually secure the border. While the number of encounters between ports of entry remains high, it is too early to determine the impact of the new policy. Mayorkas defended the move by stating that it aims to change the risk calculus for individuals in their countries of origin and encourage them to use lawful pathways while deterring them from exploitative smugglers.

The administration’s decision to implement the new policy comes after a surge in migrant encounters over the past three years. Mayorkas acknowledged that the administration should have acted sooner after the bipartisan immigration deal fell apart in February. He emphasized the importance of cooperation from other countries and called on Congress to legislate and provide necessary resources to the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and the Department of Justice.

The issue of immigration has exposed division within the Democratic Party, with some progressives criticizing Biden’s new measure and comparing it to policies implemented during the Trump administration. Democratic Sen. Chris Coons attempted to distinguish the current administration’s approach from the previous one, highlighting the need for a bipartisan solution rather than using cruelty and bans based on religion.

Progressive House Democrats and the ACLU have expressed opposition to Biden’s executive action, calling it a step in the wrong direction and planning to sue over it. Mayorkas defended the legality of the action, citing a humanitarian obligation to keep vulnerable people out of the hands of exploitative smugglers. CNN reported that Biden is considering another immigration move focused on providing legal status for long-term undocumented immigrants married to American citizens, as he aims to shore up Latino votes.

In conclusion, the debate over President Biden’s new executive action on asylum reflects the ongoing challenges and complexities of immigration policy in the United States. While the administration faces criticism from both sides of the political spectrum, the ultimate goal is to address the humanitarian and security concerns at the southern border. Moving forward, a bipartisan approach and cooperation from Congress will be essential to effectively manage and reform the country’s immigration system.

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