Posted on February 22, 2024

Biden Considering New Executive Action to Restrict Asylum at the Border, Sources Say

Priscilla Alvarez and MJ Lee, CNN, February 21, 2024

The White House is considering executive action to restrict migrants’ ability to seek asylum at the US-Mexico border if they crossed illegally – a maneuver reminiscent of controversial action from the Donald Trump era and is sure to invite fierce backlash from immigration advocates and progressives.

The handling of the US-Mexico border has dogged President Joe Biden for years as migration across the Western hemisphere reached record levels and resulted in thousands of migrants arriving at the border.

The action being considered at the White House appears to be an extension of some of the toughest measures in the border compromise legislation tanked by Republicans—and another sign of the White House’s efforts to show they’re aggressive on border security ahead of Election Day.

No final decision has been made on the action under consideration, which involves using an authority known as 212f between ports of entry to try to clamp down on unlawful border crossings. An administration official noted that the administration often evaluates actions that could be taken, but they don’t always move forward.

It’s unclear how the proclamation under discussion would be executed and what, if anything, would be different from what was enacted during the Trump administration.

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel has been reviewing the proposed executive order to determine whether it could sustain legal challenges, a person briefed on the matter said. But some Justice officials have expressed doubts that proposed changes, aimed at trying to address previous court rulings against the Trump-era order, could survive litigation that is sure to follow any move by the Biden administration to use executive action.


Biden suggested earlier this month he would shut down the US-Mexico border if the proposed border legislation had been signed into law – effectively embracing one of the toughest measures included in the package.

“If the bill were law today, it would qualify to be shut down right now while we repair it,” Biden said.

Trump tried to close the US southern border to asylum seekers crossing the border unlawfully while in office, invoking provisions in immigration law, but was blocked by the courts.


Administration officials, facing dwindling border security funds, have also discussed whether declaring a national emergency could shore up funds, two sources said. {snip}