ACLU Warns: Executive Order to Shut Down the Border Would Put Thousands of Lives at Risk

Special to the Vanguard

Washington – The White House released on Tuesday a fact sheet announcing details on an impending executive action from the Biden administration that will severely restrict people’s legal right to seek asylum. Among the measures announced, the administration will effectively shut off asylum for the overwhelming majority of people arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border once the average number of border encounters reaches 2,500 between ports of entry, reopening only once the daily number declines to 1,500, according to several reports.

“We need solutions to address the challenges at the border, but the administration’s planned executive actions will put thousands of lives at risk,” said Deirdre Schifeling, chief political and advocacy officer at the ACLU. “They will not meet the needs at the border, nor will they fix our broken immigration system.”

The executive action will invoke Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, echoing the Trump administration’s previous entry ban. The ACLU and partners successfully challenged an asylum ban by the Trump administration that took the same approach as the Biden administration. It would also rush vulnerable people through already fast-tracked deportation proceedings, sending people in need of protection to their deaths.

“We intend to challenge this order in court. It was illegal when Trump did it, and it is no less illegal now,” said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

Several polls show that voters nationwide and in battleground states largely reject enforcement-only policies that put vulnerable people in danger. Immigration advocates have continuously called on elected officials to push forward balanced and humane solutions, such as improving processing at ports of entry and addressing the immigration case backlog by investing in immigration court judges and legal representation.

“We urge the administration to uphold its campaign promise to restore asylum and mobilize the necessary resources to address the challenges at the border. It’s not just the morally sound thing to do — it’s good politics,” added Schifeling. “Voters view immigration as a top concern, and they’re looking to our elected leaders to champion solutions that are both effective and consistent with our nation’s values.”

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Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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