Several Democratic members of Congress criticized the Biden administration Thursday over its decision to expand a Trump-era border policy to expel more illegal migrants, during a press conference on Capitol Hill.
Democratic Senators Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Corey Booker (D-NJ), and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York led the press conference to ask that President Joe Biden reverse his recent decision to expel Cubans, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans, and Haitians who illegally cross the southern border using Title 42. a Trump-era public health order implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Before expanding Title 42, the Biden administration attempted to end the order in May before Republican states intervened.
The order remains, and its fate could be decided by the Supreme Court.
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“Now, we recognize that the United States is experiencing a difficult migration challenge at the Southern border,” Menendez said. “We recognize that President Trump made a top priority to dismantle border and asylum processing as we know it. But as elected officials we are duty bound to propose legal solutions. One that protects asylum seekers while also securing the safe removal of migrants who have no legal claim to stay in the United States. Now, anyone who tells you that the only way to secure our border is to punish asylum seekers is lying. It’s why we are appalled to see President Biden replicate President Trump’s immigration strategy.”
“It runs completely contrary to what then-Vice President Biden, and before that, Senate Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee Biden said about the question of asylum,” Menendez added.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recorded more than 2.3 million migrant encounters in fiscal year 2022 and more than 250,000 in December alone. The surges broke agency records, leading the president to increase restrictions.
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Biden also created a legal pathway for migrants from Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Haiti to enter the country via parole program where they can schedule an appointment for entry at a U.S. port of entry.
“We are ready to work with the president to ensure that we have a safe, humane border that upholds the right to asylum without recreating unjust policies of past administrations,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
The delegation sent a letter signed by nearly 80 members of Congress to President Joe Biden sharing their concerns.
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