The administration of US President Joe Biden on Tuesday unveiled a plan to tighten rules for granting political asylum to foreigners. It will automatically be denied to people who entered the country through the Mexican border and did not seek protection in countries en route to the United States.
Biden’s plan almost duplicates measures taken by the administration of his predecessor Donald Trump, and subsequently blocked by federal courts at the request of human rights groups and politicians from the Democratic Party, to which the incumbent belongs.
Exceptions to the rule will be made for petitioners at risk of violent crime or human trafficking, critically ill people, unaccompanied minors, or petitioners seeking US assistance due to compelling circumstances.
President Biden initially pledged to restore asylum access, which was limited under his predecessor, Donald Trump. But migrant rights advocates and some fellow Democrats have criticized him for increasingly sticking to his predecessor’s restrictions, Voice of America notes.
Authorities report the inability to cope with the flow of migrants with existing measures. In January, five thousand asylum seekers crossed the US border daily. After the lifting of restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the daily number of petitioners could increase to 13,000, according to a published document. Most asylum seekers are later denied asylum, but these cases can drag on for years before the courts.
After crossing the Mexican border, hundreds of Russian citizens have asked for asylum in recent years. They take advantage of the fact that Russians do not need a visa to enter Mexico.
In 2022, Viktor Kamenshchikov, a deputy of the Vladivostok City Duma who opposed the war, received asylum under this scheme. In December, a military engineer from the Kazan Aviation Plant who crossed the border asked for asylum, in July – the former journalist of “Baza” Pyotr Koronaev, in the spring – the journalist of “Novaya Gazeta” Elizaveta Kirpanova.
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