Two Texas groups sue over Biden asylum order

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(The Center Square) – Two Texas groups have sued over President Joe Biden’s executive order that purports to limit admission into the U.S. to a certain number of foreign nationals claiming asylum.

In an announcement issued last week, the president said foreign nationals illegally entering the country between ports of entry would be barred from receiving asylum, The Center Square reported.

“Migrants will be restricted from receiving asylum unless they seek it through an established lawful process, making an appointment through a port of entry,” he said, referring to the CBP One app, which several federal judges have ruled is illegal.

On Wednesday, Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center in El Paso and the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services in San Antonio sued over the policy. They are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation Immigrants’ Rights Project, National Immigrant Justice Center, and other attorneys.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and names the Department of Homeland Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Justice, and their respective secretaries and directors, as defendants.

“We were left with no alternative but to sue,” Lee Gelernt, ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project deputy directorsaid. “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.”

The lawsuit states that those claiming asylum are “refugees” and The United States has “long sheltered refugees seeking a haven from persecution.” While Congress has placed some limitations on the right to seek asylum over the years, it argues, “it has never permitted the executive branch to categorically ban asylum based on where a non-citizen enters the country.” The brief argues Congress allows any noncitizen, regardless of where or how they entered, once they are on U.S. soil, to apply for asylum.

Biden’s policy of requiring “legal entry” through the use of a phone app is an “illegal visa program,” multiple state attorneys general argue.For years, they have filed numerous lawsuits to block its use, The Center Square reported.

An analysis of Biden’s so-called asylum ban reveals that by using the CBP One app, his administration is facilitating illegal entry of another 2 million people into the U.S., after more than 11 million already illegally entered, including those who evaded capture, since January 2021, The Center Square exclusively reported.

The lawsuit also takes issue with a screening policy stipulated in Biden’s order even though a new Inspector General report found that federal screening processes ofthe asylum seekers is so inadequate that federal agents don’t know who they are releasing into the country.

In one example, the audit found that despite being given $1 billion to implement and use a biometric facial recognition technological screening, federal agents were unable to effectively screen and vet noncitizens before releasing them into the U.S.

Because a federal guideline for vetting, screening and the application process is supposed to be completed within 180 days but is instead taking years, the Inspector General audit found that federal agents were only completing initial screenings of asylum applicants. In the interim years, no continuous screening of applicants was being performed “to identify persons who committed crimes or should otherwise have been considered a potential threat while residing in the United States without permanent legal status,” the report found.

In a separate audit, roughly 200,000 foreign nationals scheduled to be deported after their asylum claims were rejected had their cases thrown out by immigration judges because the Department of Homeland Security didn’t file paperwork with the courts in time for scheduled hearings, The Center Square reported.

The lawsuit asks the court to vacate Biden’s order and federal agency guidance,declare that they are contrary to law, arbitrary and capriciousand procedurally invalid.

The White House plans to defend the president’s order. A White House spokesperson said the president took the action because Republicans blocked border security measures.

“The Biden-Harris administration took these actions, within its authorities, because border encounters remain too high and after Congressional Republicans twice voted against a historic bipartisan border security agreement that would have provided critical resources, statutory changes and additional personnel to the border,” the spokesperson said.

The bill the president and White House refer to was most recently blocked by Senate Democrats as some Senate Democrats are distancing themselves from his border policies in an election year, The Center Square reported.

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