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ACLU sues Biden administration over new immigration policies

The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against U.S. President Joe Biden's latest effort to curb migrants illegally entering the country. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI
The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against U.S. President Joe Biden's latest effort to curb migrants illegally entering the country. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

June 13 (UPI) -- Immigration advocates are suing the Biden administration over actions it recently announced to curb the number of migrants illegally entering the country at the southern border.

President Joe Biden, who has faced Republican criticism during his tenure over his handling of the border, has implemented numerous immigration policies that have seemingly contributed to a drop in migrants illegally entering the United States from a record monthly high of more than 300,000 in December to fewer than 180,000 in April, the lowest number of encounters for that month since 2021.

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Last week, the president, who is running for re-election in a tight race against the presumptive Republican candidate, Donald Trump, announced a new executive action that will deny entry to migrants who enter via the southern border between ports of entry if the seven-day average of daily encounters exceeds 2,500, with humanitarian exceptions in place.

On Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union with other civil and immigration rights groups filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking to quash the new immigration actions on the grounds that they are overreach by the Biden administration.

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According to the lawsuit, while Congress has placed some limitations on the right of migrants to seek asylum, it has never allowed the executive branch to ban noncitizens based on where they enter the country.

The ACLU highlights in the document U.S. immigration law approved by Congress that states any noncitizen present in the United States may apply for asylum, even if they entered "not at a designated port of arrival."

"We were left with no alternative but to sue," Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrant's Rights Project, said in a statement.

"The administration lacks unilateral authority to override Congress and bar asylum based on how one enters the country, a point the courts made crystal clear when the Trump administration unsuccessfully tried a near-identical ban."

In announcing the rule June 4, Biden said he would have preferred to address immigration through bipartisan legislation while blaming Republican obstructionism for his use of executive authorities.

"That's the only way to actually get the kind of system we have now -- that's broken -- fixed," he said.

The announcement came under swift criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, with the former concerned over its implications on asylum seekers and the latter as doing too little too late.

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