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Kansas City immigration advocates blast President Biden's proposed asylum crackdown

People wait in Tijuana, Mexico, on Tuesday to apply for asylum in the United States. A memo notified officers that immigrants at the southern border are ineligible for asylum, with a few exceptions.
Gregory Bull
People wait in Tijuana, Mexico, in 2019 to apply for asylum in the United States. A memo notified officers that immigrants at the southern border are ineligible for asylum, with a few exceptions.

Under a new Biden administration policy, immigrants fleeing persecution or violence will be required to first apply for asylum from outside the U.S. Immigration advocates are critical of the policy, which is schedule to go into effect in May, and compare it to the policies of former President Trump.

In an effort to curb the flow of immigrants illegally crossing the southern border into the United States, the Biden administration announced a new policy heavily restricting the ability to seek asylum in the U.S.

Immigrants fleeing violence or persecution in their home countries will be denied asylum if they don't first seek protection in a country they traveled through prior to arriving at the U.S. border.

"I think that Biden doesn't know his own asylum law," says Karla Juarez, executive director of Advocates for Immigrant Rights and Reconciliation, based in Kansas City, Kansas. "The U.S. asylum law says you must present yourself at the port of entry."

"Elected officials from both sides are having these conversations about being illegal entry and not being the right way," Juarez continues. "Well, essentially, presenting themselves to the port of entry and seeking asylum is the way to do it."

The move is being compared to former President Trump's restrictive measures, which Biden was critical of as a presidential candidate. Under the controversial Title 42 rules, during the COVID emergency the federal government could expel asylum-seekerswithout giving them a chance to have their cases heard.

"The couple of differences that the administration is saying, compared to the Trump rule, is that children are exempt and there are exceptions for the most vulnerable of migrants," says States Newsroom reporter Ariana Figueroa.

The proposal is listed on the Federal Register and currently open for a 30-day comment period.

"We are definitely tired of us immigrants being seen as a political talking point or, you know, pawns in this conversation," Juarez says.

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