Border officials working under President Joe Biden’s administration have issued a warning that those who illegally enter the United States face the possibility of being expelled from the country altogether.
The United States faces a potentially massive surge in illegal immigrant crossings as the Biden administration is seeking to wind down a pandemic-era order under Title 42 of the U.S. code, which allowed border officials to heavily restrict entry into the United States. Without the Title 42 order, the Biden administration has centered much of its strategy for processing on a parole program, and an online and mobile application portal called CBP One.
The Biden-era parole program is designed such that migrants can apply for temporary entry into the United States through the online portal rather than requesting entry once they arrive at the U.S. southern border. Under the program, immigrant parolees could be allowed to enter the United States and work for up to two years. The Biden administration has paired the rollout of its parole program and CBP One app with a rule that those who still ignore the border and illegally cross will be returned and disqualified from future entry under the parole program.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency reiterated this new Biden administration policy in a tweet promoting the CBP One app on Tuesday.
“#CBPOne works for migrants seeking appointments to arrive in the U.S. in specific locations. CBP One is ready to use and makes the process better. Illegal entry will result in removal,” the border security agency said.
The Biden administration has also proposed an asylum rule (pdf), whereby it is presumed that an asylum applicant is ineligible if they did not first seek asylum or other legal protections in the countries through which they traveled on their way to the United States.
The rules are in accordance with the 1951 United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees or the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees.
Some pro-immigration activists have pushed back against these new restrictions on border crossings and the asylum system.
In February, Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc. (CLINIC) Executive Director Anna Gallagher said “the Biden administration is betraying its own commitment to uphold asylum.”
CLINIC criticized the proposed rule that would presume asylum applicants to be ineligible if they did not apply for asylum status in the countries they passed through on their way to the United States. The organization said the Biden-era rule creates a “convoluted process” for an applicant to make their asylum claim.
CBP One App
It remains to be seen if the pairing of the Biden-era parole program and restrictions will effectively control the flow of migrants and asylum seekers attempting to enter the United States.
In a January White House press conference, Biden said the number of Venezuelans observed attempting to illegally cross the border fell from about 1,100 per day to an average of about 250 after the rollout of the new parole program and the CBP One app.
While the Biden administration has touted reductions in the numbers of illegal crossings under its parole program, large groups of migrants have still flocked to the border with expectations of gaining easy entry into the United States.
One large group of Venezuelan immigrants gathered at an El Paso, Texas, port of entry earlier this month after rumors spread online that they would be rapidly processed through the U.S. asylum system and allowed into the country. Some members of that immigrant group also claimed to have had issues using the CBP One app.
In a February statement, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) condemned the Biden-era asylum proposal and the effort to channel asylum seekers and migrant parole program applicants through the CBP One app, which the ACLU said “has proven inaccessible for many people and has been fraught with technical problems, privacy concerns, and racial biases.”
Responding to the CBP’s tweet on Tuesday, one Twitter user claimed the app “Doesn’t work” and shared screenshots indicating a lack of available time slots for scheduling an appointment for processing at the Brownsville/Gateway port of entry in Texas.
While pro-immigration groups have criticized the new Biden-era immigration policies as too restrictive, some immigration hawks have said the Biden-era rules will not actually do much to stop the flow of migrants into the United States.
The National Border Patrol Council (NBPC), a border patrol union that favors stricter border security measure, said the Biden-era restrictions on border crossings and asylum applications are “all smoke and mirrors.”
“[Migrants] will still have the right to ask for an immigration judge redetermination, which will perpetuate more catch and release-the magnet that draws millions and allows cartel thugs to advertise their services,” the NBPC said in a February tweet. “The cartels will continue to coach illegal border crossers about what they need to say and they will still be released. Don’t be fooled by these fake MSM propagandists.”