Biden imposes sweeping asylum ban at US-Mexico border

Migrants caught crossing illegally could be quickly deported or turned back to Mexico, according to new move.

WASHINGTON (Reuters): U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday instituted a broad asylum ban on migrants caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, a major enforcement move in the run-up to November elections that will decide control of the White House.

Migrants caught crossing illegally could be quickly deported or turned back to Mexico under the measure, which will take effect just after midnight. There will be exceptions for unaccompanied children, people who face serious medical or safety threats and victims of trafficking, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said.

Biden, a Democrat, has toughened his approach to border security as immigration has emerged as a top issue for Americans in the run-up to Nov. 5 elections where he will face Republican Donald Trump, who made a hardline stance on immigration a centerpiece of his administration and vowed a wide-ranging crackdown if reelected.

Biden took office in 2021 vowing to reverse some of Trump’s restrictive immigration policies but grappled with record levels of migrants caught crossing illegally, a trend that has strained U.S. border authorities and cities receiving new arrivals.

During a White House press conference explaining the proclamation, Biden said asylum access would remain available to migrants who registered for an appointment using an app known as CBP One or used other legal pathways instead of crossing illegally.

“This action will help us gain control of our border and restore order into the process,” Biden said. “This ban will remain in place until the number of people trying to enter illegally is reduced to a level that our system can effectively manage.”

Even as Biden rolled out new restrictions, he criticized Trump’s most controversial policies, including separating migrant families at the border and comments that immigrants in the U.S. illegally were “poisoning the blood of our country.”

“I will never demonize immigrants,” Biden said.

When it comes to immigration policy, registered voters prefer Trump over Biden by a 17 percentage point margin, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted in mid-May.

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