Biden’s immigration laws pose problems - GulfToday

Biden’s immigration laws pose problems


Biden has created enough legal hurdles to make it as difficult, if not more, for refugees feeling persecution in their own countries to find shelter in the US.

Even as former president Donald Trump’s executive order called Title 42 issued in April 2020 which allowed the government to expel illegal immigrants for reasons of public health as Covid-19 was raging at the time ended on Thursday night, things did not become any easy for the thousands of anxious immigrants waiting at the Mexican border to get into the country. President Joe Biden’s new immigration laws while appearing to consider the immigrants’ plea with sympathy have made it difficult for them to seek entry into the United States.

They have now to get a clearance at American immigration offices set up in central American states like Guatemala where the asylum seekers have to prove that they deserve to be treated as refugees. The legal hurdle is likely to prevent people who face persecution in their home countries to ever escape with their lives. It has also been made difficult for the immigrants to seek entry into the US through a third country like Mexico.

An Afghan refugee or a Colombian refugee cannot hope to find acceptance by the US immigration authorities if they travelled through a country other than their own. There are two walls now at the US-Mexico border, one overlooking the Mexican side and the other on the American side, and there are many people who have landed in the narrow corridor between the two walls, waiting to get through to the American side. US Department of Homeland Security official Blas Nunez-Neto told the media on Friday, “We continue to encounter high-levels of non-citizens at the border, but we did not see a substantial increase overnight or an influx at midnight.” This is an attempt to underscore the point that there is no rush at the border because Title 42 had ended.

But people in the US and in other countries, especially people from those countries experiencing political strife, feel that President Biden is not the liberal who will open the doors of immigration compared to the harsh conservatism of his predecessor Trump, but that Biden has created enough legal hurdles to make it as difficult, if not more, for refugees feeling persecution in their own countries to find shelter in the US.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had challenged the new immigration provisions, and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) had emphasised the need to provide asylum to those whose lives are endangered. President Biden, it seems, is following very nearly the closed door policy of Trump but now under a legal guise. US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas tried to defend the Biden administration’s immigration laws saying that it is a means to encourage immigrants to come into the country through legal means, but he has admitted, “It’s going to be a tough transition.”

The new US immigration laws are indeed more liberal than the immigration policy adopted by the Conservative government in Great Britain, which provides for deporting illegal immigrants into the US to a third country like Rwanda through a government-to-government agreement between the two countries. This literally pushed immigrants who are seeking entry into Britain to be transported to Rwanda which is not the destination of preference of those seeking asylum.  The illiberal attitudes adopted by two of the reputed democracies in the Western world reveals the double standards of those preaching the sacredness of human rights. More importantly, much of the time the political strife in the home countries of those seeking asylum in the West is created by the governments of countries like the US and the UK. And the leaders in the West are unable to guarantee the life and freedom of the people who are forced to flee their own countries. The question is whether Western countries like the US and UK have a moral obligation to accept refugees from countries where the Western policies have created conditions of conflict.

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