ACLU sues Biden administration over border crackdown | WORLD
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ACLU sues Biden administration over border crackdown

Border Patrol agents leading migrants to a van for processing Associated Press/Photo by Gregory Bull

ACLU sues Biden administration over border crackdown

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday against President Joe Biden’s order denying asylum to migrants illegally crossing the southern border when the number of border crossings surges. Biden’s executive order violates the spirit of the 1980 Refugee Act, according to the group’s lawsuit. Congress has placed limits on asylum before, but the president has never fully denied asylum to non-citizens just because they entered from the southern border, the lawsuit said. Biden’s order mirrors the Trump administration’s previous asylum ban, which courts already ruled unconstitutional, the ACLU noted.

What has the White House said? Biden has not officially responded to the lawsuit, though several administrative members have supported his executive order. A lawsuit from the ACLU was expected, but the administration stands by the order’s legality, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in an interview last week. White House spokesman Angelo Fernández Hernández blamed Republicans in Congress for Biden’s order. The proclamation was necessary because GOP lawmakers wouldn’t allot critical resources, statutory changes, and more personnel to the border, he told the Associated Press.

The ACLU had no choice but to sue, said Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. The administration lacks authority to override Congress, which the courts made clear by rejecting the Trump administration's near-identical ban, he said.

If Trump’s ban was shot down in court, why would Biden’s order be sustained? The Biden administration’s order starkly contrasts the Trump administration’s approach to immigration, an unidentified senior White House official said in a press call. Trump’s policies went against American values by demonizing immigrants, instituting mass raids, and separating families at the border, they continued. Biden’s block on illegal migrants receiving asylum has exceptions for unaccompanied children, people with serious medical or safety threats, and victims of trafficking.

Dig deeper: Read Addie Offereins’ report in Compassion unpacking what Biden’s border order means.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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