Joe Biden Abruptly Cancels Cruel Trump Immigration Policy

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The Department of Homeland Security is now eliminating a punitive, Trump-era immigration policy that was poised to sharply restrict the number of asylum-seekers who could obtain protection in the United States. The policy, called “metering,” involved stopping undocumented immigrants — including those seeking asylum — at the border if authorities concluded that they didn’t have the appropriate operational capacity for their processing. As explained by CNN, the policy “essentially created a waitlist to allow people to enter only if the department had the capacity to process and detain them at one of its facilities.”

Although the Biden administration has also gone after Trump administration hallmarks like the southern border wall and the so-called Remain in Mexico policy that forced asylum-seekers to wait outside the country in potentially dangerous conditions while their claims were processed, other elements remain in place. A policy is still in effect tied to the pandemic that provides for turning significant numbers of people away on health-related grounds specifically.

Meanwhile, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said as follows in a statement about the “metering” policy shift:

‘This memo formally rescinds the Trump Administration’s ‘metering’ policy, which was used to turn back asylum seekers trying to enter ports of entry (POE). The new guidance lays out a vision for the lawful, orderly processing of individuals applying for asylum at POEs. Among other improvements, CBP is directed to accelerate ongoing efforts to digitize processing at POEs and more effectively use data to increase throughput.’

The document adds a directive for immigration officials “to consider and take appropriate measures, as operationally feasible, to increase capacity to process undocumented noncitizens at Southwest Border POEs, including those who may be seeking asylum and other forms of protection.” Overall, it adds that ports of entry into the United States “must strive to process all travelers, regardless of documentation status, who are waiting to enter, as expeditiously as possible, based on available resources and capacity.”

Notably, a federal judge concluded that the “metering” process was illegal two months ago. That judge, U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant, found that the policy violated the rights of migrants to due process. One of those involved on the plaintiffs’ side in that case claimed that immigration officials lied about their capacity to handle migrants as an excuse for metering. A hope going forward would be for CBP operations to reflect their true capacity to effectively handle cases of migration.