Biden issues executive order limiting asylum

The new order allows Border Patrol to immediately remove migrants arriving to the US, sending them back to Mexico without a court date or asylum hearing
Migrants sit waiting on the curb at the Douglas Point of Entry after Biden announced executive order to limit asylum

On Tuesday 4 June, US President Biden issued an executive order that would effectively close the US/Mexican border to people who attempt to enter the US without proper documentation. This order creates a threshold of an average of 2,500 daily crossings, meaning that someone’s right to movement is not determined by the strength of a person’s claim but by arbitrary cut offs. Biden has removed the path of migration where people cross the border wall irregularly into the US and then plead asylum and remain in the country to wait for a court date and an asylum hearing. Instead, the order requires the Border Patrol to immediately send these people back to Mexico.

By Wednesday morning, the people waiting in Agua Prieta, Sonora, to enter the US through the Port of Entry in Douglas, Arizona, were worried and feared that none of them would be admitted to present their case for asylum. However, the CAME migrant shelter director, accompanied by a CPT Borderlands volunteer, explained to the migrants that the new executive order applied only to people who entered the US illegally and were apprehended by the Border Patrol. The order did not affect the process for people waiting to enter through a port or to people using the CBPOne App to schedule an asylum hearing. Nevertheless, a week after the order was issued, the reality at the border has changed for everyone. US Customs officials have significantly slowed down the process to accept those who are waiting to enter through the port of entry in Douglas/Agua Prieta.

The American Immigration Council published a release in response to the executive order, expressing concerns about the root causes of the responsive action to migration. “So long as Biden’s border policy remains focused on punishing border-crossers instead of recognizing the benefits that immigrants bring to our country, and without further action from Congress, we will continue to see suffering, chaos, and disorder in our immigration system,” the Council stated. 

Over the last few days, a number of families who were expelled under the new order have been arriving at the Centro de Recursos para Migrantes (CRM) in Agua Prieta. The Mexican consulate in Douglas has notified the Director of CAME about migrants attempting to enter the US from Altar and Caborca in Sonora, Mexico. The Border Patrol is transporting these people several hours east to deport them to Agua Prieta.

In this current state of uncertainty, migrant support systems in Agua Prieta face two unknown situations. First, how many expelled families will arrive? And second, will more families arrive in Agua Prieta in an attempt to be accepted through the Port of Entry? 

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