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Immigration advocacy groups sue Biden administration over border directive

Immigration advocacy groups are suing the Biden administration over President Biden’s recent directive that will limit the number of migrants seeking asylum at the southern border.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a number of other organizations filed the lawsuit on Wednesday on behalf of the Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center and the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services.

“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,” Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement.

The executive action means that noncitizens who cross the southern border between ports of entry will be turned away if the seven-day average of daily border crossings exceeds 2,500 between ports of entry.

The complaint alleges that Biden’s directive violates existing federal immigration law that was enacted by Congress.

“The United States has long sheltered refugees seeking a haven from persecution. The 1980 Refugee Act enshrined that national commitment in law,” the complaint reads.

“While Congress has placed some limitations on the right to seek asylum over the years, it has never permitted the Executive Branch to categorically ban asylum based on where a noncitizen enters the country.

A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement to The Hill that the new rule is lawful.

“We cannot comment on pending litigation. The Securing the Border rule is lawful, is critical to strengthening border security, and is already having an impact. The challenged actions remain in effect, and we will continue to implement them,” the spokesperson said.

“Noncitizens without authorization should not come to our southern border. There are serious consequences for crossing unlawfully,” the spokesperson added.

Biden’s move on the border was met with backlash from both sides of the aisle as he attempted to take action on the highly debated issue. The White House aimed to blame Republicans for a lack of action on the border as the new rule was rolled out earlier this month. 

Republican lawmakers had blocked a bipartisan deal on the border earlier this year that would have enacted a similar cap on asylum and provided more funding to Border Patrol agents and immigration judges.

Source: The Hill

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