Biden restricting asylum access at Mexico border as Title 42 ends

The United States rolled out a new regulation on Wednesday that will deny asylum to most migrants crossing the US-Mexico border illegally, a key part of President Joe Biden’s enforcement plan as COVID-19 border restrictions known as Title 42 end this week.

The final version of the regulation, which becomes effective on Thursday, has no major changes from a draft published in February, a senior Biden administration official told reporters on Tuesday evening.

The regulation creates a new presumption that migrants arriving at the border are ineligible for asylum if they passed through other nations without seeking protection elsewhere first or if they failed to use legal pathways for US entry.

The new restrictions will apply to the vast majority of non-Mexican migrants since they typically pass through multiple countries en route to the United States.

The Biden administration is preparing for possible increase in already record levels of unauthorized border crossings when the COVID-19 restrictions, first implemented in March 2020, are lifted on Thursday just before midnight. Migrants have been amassing in Mexico this week as thousands crossing into the US have strained border cities.

The Title 42 restrictions allow US authorities to rapidly expel many non-Mexican migrants to Mexico without the chance to seek US asylum. Mexicans, the nationality most frequently caught crossing, are able to be quickly returned to Mexico under bilateral agreements that predated the COVID-19 restrictions.

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