Biden weighs tightening asylum restrictions at the southern border, official says


(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden is looking at the possibility of taking executive action to tighten asylum restrictions, an administration official confirms to ABC.

One of the possibilities under consideration would be to bar migrants from seeking asylum if they crossed into the U.S. illegally between ports of entry. The migrants would instead have to prove they had a basis to remain through other avenues, such as a medical emergency.

However, the potential changes are far from decided and it is possible that this does not come to pass.

CNN was first to report the consideration.

The discussion comes after Republicans on Capitol Hill, under pressure from Donald Trump, killed a bipartisan border deal in the Senate that was tied to tens of billions in foreign aid.

While President Biden has sought to stress his focus on southern border security, tightening asylum restrictions could also put him at odds with progressives in his own party who will likely argue that these kinds of changes are reminiscent of Trump-era immigration policies that Biden campaigned against.

“The Administration spent months negotiating in good faith to deliver the toughest and fairest bipartisan border security bill in decades because we need Congress to make significant policy reforms and to provide additional funding to secure our border and fix our broken immigration system,” White House spokesperson Angelo Fernández Hernández said in a statement, referring to the Senate agreement that was rejected by many conservatives as insufficient.

“Congressional Republicans chose to put partisan politics ahead of our national security, rejected what border agents have said they need, and then gave themselves a two-week vacation,” Hernández contended.

He went on to stress that the administration feels Biden can only do so much as “no executive action, no matter how aggressive, can deliver the significant policy reforms and additional resources Congress can provide.”

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