Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez are “disappointed” with the Biden Administration’s decision to enact a Trump era immigration policy this Spring.
The proposed rule on Feb. 21, known as a transit ban, would presume that migrants are ineligible for asylum if they entered the country unlawfully. It would allow rapid deportation of anyone who had failed to request protection from another country while en route to the United States or who did not notify border authorities through a mobile app of their plans to seek asylum.
Administration officials said the policy would take effect on May 11 with the expected termination that day of Title 42, a Trump-era health emergency rule that has allowed border authorities to swiftly expel migrants back to Mexico. The new rule would then remain in place for two years.
New Immigration Policy
Many migrants do not apply for asylum in Mexico, preferring to try their luck in the United States. The two New Jersey Senators said the new policy was expected to erect a formidable barrier to those hoping to submit U.S. applications.
“Last month, when the Biden Administration announced it would soon be issuing a proposed rule, which in effect would function as a ‘transit ban’ on asylum seekers who don’t first apply for asylum in a transit country, we urged the administration to abandon this idea,” said a statement from Booker and Menendez along with Sens. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), and Alex Padilla (D-CA.) was released after the new policy was revealed.
Looking to Improve System
“We are deeply disappointed that the administration has chosen to move forward with publishing this proposed rule, which only perpetuates the harmful myth that asylum seekers are a threat to this nation.”
The lawmakers said their goal was to implement a more orderly asylum system for those pursuing a legal pathway and humanely remove individuals with no legal basis to stay in America, while overcoming Republican obstruction to updating the U.S. immigration system.
“(We committed) to work with President Joe Biden and his Administration to develop a comprehensive plan to address the root causes of migration,” wrote Booker and Menendez. “We have an obligation to protect vulnerable migrants under domestic and international law and should not leave vulnerable migrants stranded in countries unable to protect them.“
“We urge President Biden and (Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas) to reverse course and pave a better path forward that protects the right to asylum while addressing the real operational challenges at our Southern Border.”
Booker at Southern Border
The announcement by the Biden Administration came as Booker traveled to South Texas and Mexico to meet with officials about the situation facing migrants on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.
Booker toured both government facilities and those of non-government service providers in Brownsville, meeting with officials to discuss asylum processing for migrants and asylum-seekers, and observe the impacts of our immigration system on those seeking asylum in the United States.
“The challenges our nation is facing at the southern border are exacerbated by Republican obstruction to modernizing our immigration system, and I believe reform is urgently needed,” said Booker. “My trip to the U.S.-Mexico border will allow me to assess in person the impact of the administration’s recent policy changes on migrants and asylum seekers on both sides of the border.
“America has been a beacon of freedom and hope to the world for generations, and I will fight to ensure that our immigration policies reflect these values.”