Coalition of 18 Democratic lawmakers urges Biden administration to change asylum rules

Illegal immigrants could face a five-year ban on seeking asylum if they enter the country between legal ports of entry. 

Published: June 12, 2024 6:37pm

A group of 18 House Democrats on Tuesday encouraged the Biden administration to reconsider its new proposed asylum rules, claiming it forces those crossing the border to make life-altering decisions too quickly.

President Joe Biden rolled out a new executive order last week which bars illegal immigrants from receiving asylum when there are high levels of encounters at the southern border. Another possible rule makes illegal immigrants who enter the country outside of regular ports of entry generally ineligible for asylum unless they meet certain exceptions.

The group of Democrats, led by Illinois Democratic Reps. Delia Ramirez and Jesús “Chuy” García, urged Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Ur Jaddou to reconsider the new rules in a letter obtained by The Hill.

“Allowing the consideration of mandatory bars to asylum during initial asylum screening interviews will force asylum seekers to present legally and factually complex arguments explaining the life-threatening harms they are fleeing shortly after enduring a long, traumatic journey and while being held in immigration detention and essentially cut off from legal help,” the lawmakers wrote.

Illegal immigrants could face a five-year ban on seeking asylum if they enter the country between legal ports of entry and fail to meet the new, higher standards for asylum. 

Other co-signers on the letter include Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Rep. Nanette Barragán, Biden-Harris 2024 campaign co-chair Rep. Veronica Escobar, and House Rules Committee Ranking Member Jim McGovern.

The letter comes as Democrats attempt to quell criticism over their lack of action on the country's border crisis, as streams of migrants flood sanctuary cities throughout the United States.

“I think that folks are feeling pressure up and down the ballot. I think that we have not done a great job in messaging immigration," Ramirez told The Hill. "But then the other part of that is also valid if we’re being honest, is we haven’t done anything about immigration reform, it’s been over 30 years."

Misty Severi is an evening news reporter for Just the News. You can follow her on X for more coverage.

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