ACLU files lawsuit over Biden’s border executive order: ‘Administration lacks unilateral authority’

News & Politics

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Biden administration over its new executive order that the nonprofit claims would “categorically ban asylum based on where a noncitizen enters the country.”

The Biden administration released the executive action on June 4, stating that it would crack down on the increase of illegal immigrants crossing the border. However, the order includes many exceptions that critics say prove it was only a political move that will do nothing to actually curb the ongoing border crisis.

‘Anti-asylum policies are cruel, ineffective, and unlawfully undermine the fundamental right to seek asylum in the United States.’

The ACLU, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of two pro-immigration groups, claims that the administration’s action is “cruel” and “severely restricts asylum,” putting “thousands of lives at risk.”

“These executive actions will effectively shut off any access to asylum protections for the vast majority of people arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, no matter how strong their claims. The proclamation echoes the Trump administration’s previous asylum entry ban, which immigrants’ rights advocates successfully challenged,” the ACLU said in a statement.

“We were left with no alternative but to sue. The administration lacks unilateral authority to override Congress and bar asylum based on how one enters the country, a point the courts made crystal clear when the Trump administration unsuccessfully tried a near-identical ban,” stated Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

According to the lawsuit, the administration “harmed” the immigration groups by enacting the order “without first providing notice and an opportunity to comment.”

Biden’s executive order only takes effect if the number of encounters at the southern border averages 2,500 per day or more over a seven-day period. At that point, illegal immigrants who attempt to cross into the U.S. not at a designated port of entry could be banned from making an asylum claim. However, the executive action carves out exceptions for unaccompanied minors, those experiencing medical emergencies, and victims of a “severe form” of trafficking.

The restrictions are lifted once the average daily crossings drop to 1,500 per day for seven consecutive days. If the number of border encounters increases again, the administration can choose to re-enact the restrictions.

When the Biden administration announced the executive action, Border Patrol averaged approximately 4,000 encounters per day.

Arthur Spitzer, senior counsel of the ACLU of the District of Columbia, stated, “The Biden administration’s actions effectively shut the door on countless individuals fleeing violence and persecution.”

“Anti-asylum policies are cruel, ineffective, and unlawfully undermine the fundamental right to seek asylum in the United States,” Spitzer added.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently said that the Biden administration anticipated that the ACLU would challenge the order.

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