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New border security rules go into effect ‘immediately’

McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — President Joe Biden today is announcing strict measures to close the border “immediately” because of high levels of illegal immigration, as well as stricter screening methods for those seeking asylum, senior administration officials confirmed Tuesday.

“With Congress failing to act, illegal crossings in our border remain too high for our systems effectively. In the face of this, President Biden will announce executive actions to foreign migrants who cross our southern border unlawfully from receiving asylum,” a senior administration official said.

The joint order to be issued by the Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department will shut down the Southwest border between legal ports of entry when illegal crossings exceed 2,500 for several days, and won’t reopen it until the average number of crossings drops below 1,500.

This also applies to southern coastal border areas, officials said.

Because of current levels of irregular immigration, the order will go into effect “immediately” after Biden makes the announcement today, a senior official told media.

“Today, the administration is taking decisive action designed to strengthen the security of our southern border and reduce unlawful migration,” an official said. “It will make it easier for immigration officials to remove those who are here unlawfully and reduce the burden on our Border Patrol agents.”

The change in asylum policies comes just five months before the presidential election and after repeated failures by lawmakers to pass the Senate Border Bill, which Biden has been touting since he visited South Texas on Feb. 29. The failed bill would have also allowed the closure of the border when numbers exceeded a certain amount. The bill also calls for hiring 100 additional immigration judges and thousands of additional asylum officers and Border Patrol agents.

President Joe Biden talks with the U.S. Border Patrol, as he looks over the southern border, Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, in Brownsville, Texas, along the Rio Grande. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Tuesday’s announcement is a joint order and the border won’t be reopened until 14 days after it has been determined that the daily average of border encounters between ports of entry has dropped below 1,500 for seven consecutive days, an official said.

“These measures will significantly increase the speed and the scope of consequences for those who cross unlawfully or without authorization and allow the departments to more quickly remove individuals who do not establish a legal basis to remain in the United States,” an official said.

Unaccompanied minors who cross the border will be exempt from immediate deportation.

Credible fear screenings will continue to be conducted for those who believe they meet the qualifications, and those who can prove they have an “imminent and extreme threat to life and safety” will be allowed to stay in the United States, an official said.

“Individuals who do not manifest a fear will be immediately removable, and we anticipate that we will be removing those individuals in a matter of days, if not hours,” an official said. “Individuals who do not manifest a fear will be processed as we always do under our Title 8 authorities through the expedited removal process.”

Other exceptions also apply including:

  • Lawful permanent residents.
  • Victims of “severe form of trafficking.”
  • Those with “acute medical emergency.”
  • Those with valid visas.

Asylum-seekers who have scheduled asylum appointments with the CBP One app will be allowed to cross at U.S. ports of entry for their meetings. U.S. Customs and Border Protection currently allows 1,400 daily asylum interviews scheduled via the app.

But those who cross the Rio Grande and do not enter at regulated CBP facilities will face immediate deportation to Mexico or their home countries.

This includes Chinese nationals, and administration officials say the United States has made strides with other countries to accept and repatriate their citizens, including India, Senegal and Uzbekistan.

It was not clear if Mexico has signed on to accept deportations, nor how many. There were repeated questions as to Mexico’s cooperation in this plan but no specifics were given.

Sandra Sanchez can be reached at SSanchez@BorderReport.com.

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