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What the new immigration executive order means practically

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2024 | IMMIGRATION & NATURALIZATION - Immigration

After months of weighing various approaches in the wake of a failed immigration bill in Congress, the Biden Administration has issued a consequential executive order concerning asylum seekers at the Southern Border. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) promptly announced that it would be challenging the action in court, so the fate of this policy shift is not yet settled. 

The administration was facing increasing pressure to act unilaterally in the face of stalled Congressional approaches, given the gravity of the situation on the border. It ultimately decided to authorize the temporary “shutdown of asylum requests once the average number of daily encounters tops 2,500 between official ports of entry.”

How this will affect those trying to cross the border

Unless a court issues an injunction, the effects of this executive order will go into effect right away, given that the crossings at the border are currently in excess of the 2,500 threshold. And unless a court intervenes, the temporary shutdown will only be lifted once the crossing count drops to 1,500 or lower. 

The execution of the order is governed by Immigration and Nationality Act sections 212(f) and 215(a), which concerns the entry of asylum seekers – and other undocumented persons – crossing into the United States without proper authorization. 

This temporary shutdown authority is likely to be most consequential in its practical impacts for two groups: those who cannot gain entry in order to submit asylum applications until the shutdown is lifted, and those who try to cross anyway. The administration has clarified that as a result of the order, “individuals who cross the southern border unlawfully or without authorization will generally be ineligible for asylum, absent exceptionally compelling circumstances.”

Seeking asylum was already a very difficult process. It is now even more so.