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Biden puts an end to Trump-era asylum restrictions amid Democratic backlash in border region | US immigration

The Biden administration’s decision to end extensive asylum limits on the southern border in May has met the demands of prominent Democrats pending the end of a program created by Donald Trump in the name of public health.

But it creates thorny political challenges for Democrats in the border region who face the prospect of an increase in migrants who have been denied asylum in the United States for two years.

In unusually harsh criticism of a president of his own party, some congressional Democrats with tougher re-election prospects warn that the administration is sadly unprepared.

“This is a crisis, and in my opinion, because of the administration’s lack of planning, it’s about to get worse,” said Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly.

Kelly and fellow Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema met with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Wednesday to push their case for the administration to better plan and coordinate the response.

Last week, they wrote to Joe Biden, urging him to delay the end of the pandemic rules until his administration was “fully ready to execute and coordinate a comprehensive plan that ensures a safe, orderly and humane process at the border.”

Cinema and Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn sent a letter similar to Mayorkas on Thursday. Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, another top Republican target, criticized the decision Friday.

Migrants have been deported from the United States more than 1.7 million times under public health powers invoked in March 2020 and intended to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The Biden administration on Friday announced plans to end Title 42 authority, appointed by a public health law of 1944, before May 23. Near the peak of the Omicron variant in late January, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has extended the order until this week.

The announcement comes after growing pressure from prominent Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, to end a Trump-era program they launched as an excuse to get rid of obligations under U.S. law and the international treaty. to protect those fleeing persecution.

Kelly, Sinema, and other Democrats say emergency powers must finally disappear, but the federal government has not developed or shared plans to minimize the impact on local border communities and local religious and nonprofit groups that help migrants there.

“I have worked very hard to make it very clear to them that this situation is unacceptable and they seem to understand the message,” Kelly said. “It’s harder to get them to turn this into a viable plan.”

Kelly is among the most vulnerable Democrats in the Senate, aggressively attacked by Republicans in what is already a difficult year for Democrats struggling to maintain their thin majority.

Kelly declined to discuss the impact of the decision on his re-election campaign.

“They know the realities of Arizona and its history, especially as a border state,” Mike Noble, a Phoenix pollster, said of Arizona senators. “If they want to keep their seats, they have to be tough on immigration, and otherwise they could lose their jobs.”

Republicans see rising numbers of immigrants as a winning issue for oscillating voters, especially in border states. An AP-NORC poll conducted in January found that only 39% of Americans approve of how Biden is dealing with immigration. Eighty-seven percent of Republicans said they disapprove, but so did 34 percent of Democrats.

“The whole country sees the failure of the Biden administration and the laughter it brings to Kamala Harris, the self-proclaimed tsar,” said Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican. “They’re going to pay a hellish price at the polls in November. In every state.”

In Texas, Democratic congressmen Henry Cuéllar and Vicente González joined Republicans in expressing concern about ending Title 42.

“Small border communities lack adequate housing, transportation, and health infrastructure to manage the ongoing release of migrant populations in their jurisdictions,” lawmakers wrote.

Cuellar’s main progressive opponent, Jessica Cisneros, took advantage of the issue, saying that Cuellar’s support for Title 42 amounts to “cruel and inhuman treatment of people whose stories and families resemble ours.”

Immigrant and refugee advocates say it is time for the Biden administration to stop using public health standards to prevent people from seeking asylum.

Arizona senators appear to be looking at the border issue through a national political lens, said Joanna Williams, executive director of the Kino Border Initiative, which works in the border towns of Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Mexico.

“They’re underestimating the Arizona people,” Williams said. “We really have a hospitality community that can come up for the occasion and help people. Senators need to hear what people are saying here. This is not Texas. “

Alex Miller, director of asylum seekers and families at the Arizona International Rescue Committee, said coronavirus positivity rates among newcomers are now below 1%, “the justification for closing the border is gone.”

“There is no excuse for denying asylum to people fleeing terrible abuse,” he said. “We have a moral responsibility to help these people.”

Biden puts an end to Trump-era asylum restrictions amid Democratic backlash in border region | US immigration

Source link Biden puts an end to Trump-era asylum restrictions amid Democratic backlash in border region | US immigration

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