WASHINGTON (Dispatches) – Migrant advocates are criticizing U.S. President Joe Biden’s asylum policies, saying expulsions of migrants at the United States-Mexico border and other deterrent measures were “cruel, unlawful and ineffective”.
In a letter to Biden and top officials on Friday, more than 100 organizations urged the Democratic president to restore the ability of all migrants to claim asylum in the U.S. and eschew any new policies that limit asylum access.
Promising a more humane immigration approach, Biden has kept an order known as Title 42, one of former President Donald Trump most limiting measures, which allows U.S. authorities to expel migrants caught crossing the border back to Mexico.
Border arrests have risen to 20-year highs in recent months.
Immigrant advocates have also accused the administration of doing the exact opposite of what the president had promised on the campaign trail.
The administration has defended the approach, saying the expulsions are necessary to keep U.S. detention centers from becoming overwhelmed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Immigration advocacy groups urged Biden not to force migrants to wait in Mexico while their cases are being processed in the United States. The policy, they said, “would unquestionably put individuals in danger and violate U.S. asylum law.”
The Biden administration is even defending some of Trump’s far-reaching and restrictive immigration measures in courts.
In some cases, Biden’s team has argued that policies put in place by Chad Wolf, who was acting Homeland Security secretary under Trump, were legal, even though a federal judge has ruled that Wolf unlawfully served in that position because he was never confirmed by the Senate.
In their letter to Biden, the advocacy groups said they were “gravely concerned” about the flights and reports that migrants were then bused to a remote part of Guatemala.