Democrats are slamming President Joe Biden’s new immigration policy, with many branding it no better than the measures seen under his predecessor, Donald Trump.
The convoluted policy prevents adults or families from receiving asylum in the United States if they traveled through another country en route and did not apply for (and were denied) asylum there. The new process to apply for asylum in the U.S. includes multiple steps that are neither obvious nor easy to accomplish. It also requires immigrants to use a phone app, CPB One, that is poorly designed and glitchy.
Democratic Representative Jamaal Bowman slammed the policy Thursday as “extreme” and “not supported by U.S. law.” His fellow New Yorker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez urged Biden’s administration to rethink the policy, which she argued was far too restrictive.
Other Democrats have been pushing back on the policy since it was unveiled on Tuesday. Senators Bob Menendez, Cory Booker, Alex Padilla, and Ben Ray Lujan released a joint statement warning the policy “only perpetuates the harmful myth that asylum seekers are a threat to this nation.”
Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Jerry Nadler called on the president in another joint statement to increase the number of pathways to asylum instead of restricting them. “The ability to seek asylum is a bedrock principle protected by federal law and should never be violated,” they said.
Biden has come under fire since taking office for what Republicans have deemed a crisis at the southern border. Border crossings have reached their highest level in 20 years, and many lawmakers have warned that the U.S. is not equipped to handle the massive influx of people. This latest policy is an attempt to stem that flow, but many immigration rights groups say it could prevent tens of thousands of people from claiming asylum.
“This asylum ban is, at its core, Trump’s asylum ban under a different name. It will leave the most vulnerable people in much the same position as Trump’s policy did—at risk and unfairly denied the protection of asylum for reasons that have nothing to do with their need for refuge,” Anu Joshi, the deputy director of the ACLU’s National Political Advocacy Department, said.
The National Immigration Justice Center and its partner groups are preparing to sue the Biden administration if the law passes, noting that a similar Trump policy did not stand up in court.
Adding to the sting was Biden praising Poland for accepting so many Ukrainian refugees, just hours before his administration unveiled the new measure.