The cut up display screen was placing.
President Joe Biden in Warsaw, Poland, expressed unequivocal help for refugees borne out of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. Again house, his administration simply hours later introduced its hardest coverage but aimed toward turning away migrants, lots of whom are fleeing persecution and financial smash of their house international locations.
From behind a podium adorning the enduring seal of the US presidency and in entrance of a set of American, Ukrainian and Polish flags, Biden on Tuesday had delivered a stirring message: America would without end stand with Ukraine on the aspect of democracy and freedom.
Crucial in that fight for freedom, Biden mentioned in remarks forward of the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, was taking good care of the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians whose houses, households and livelihoods have been destroyed over the past yr.
“Have a look at what you’ve finished to date. Poland is internet hosting greater than 1.5 million refugees from this conflict. God bless you,” Biden instructed the gang gathered on the Royal Citadel. “Poland’s generosity – your willingness to open your hearts and your houses – is extraordinary.”
Again at house, that present of appreciation to the Polish folks struck a nerve.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Homeland Safety and Justice Departments introduced the administration’s most restrictive coverage but aimed toward curbing the variety of migrants searching for to use for asylum on the US-Mexico border. The newly proposed rule – which might take impact in Could and is paying homage to a controversial coverage relationship again to Donald Trump’s administration – largely bars migrants who traveled by way of different international locations on their solution to the US southern border from making use of for asylum within the US.
It marks a major departure from longstanding protocol, which permits migrants to request asylum no matter how they arrived on US soil.
Whereas the 2 populations – refugees fleeing conflict and asylum seekers – are completely different, the distinction between Biden’s personal phrases aimed toward refugees in Europe and his administration’s newly introduced coverage on the US border didn’t go unnoticed amongst immigration and human rights advocates and Democratic lawmakers alike, a few of whom have been fast to specific their dismay.
One senior Democratic aide, who requested for anonymity to talk freely, bluntly described the state of affairs as a “actual contradiction.”
“You see the president actually highlighting what number of refugees Poland has taken,” the aide mentioned. “After which on the identical day, there’s a rollout to very actively scale back the quantity of people that may even entry our asylum system.”
Administration officers have cited new applications that permit sure migrants to use to return to the US and underscored efforts to broaden entry to authorized pathways of their protection of the rule. The administration has additionally argued that the measure is a part of a broader effort to ascertain order in an immigration system that has been beneath immense pressure, and deal with migrants with legitimate claims of asylum, that are decided on a case-by-case foundation.
Nonetheless, the announcement served one more reminder of how the state of affairs on the US border has confirmed to be one of many thorniest political issues for the Biden White House. For the primary half of the president’s first time period in workplace, Biden and his high advisers grappled with Title 42 – a Trump-era border restriction that the administration has each publicly criticized and leaned on to quell the circulation of migrants arriving on the US border. The coverage is the topic of ongoing litigation.
With that coverage set to run out in Could, discovering and imposing different measures to limit the hundreds of migrants arriving on the US border has solely grown in urgency for the White House – notably as Republican lawmakers have been keen to color Biden as weak on border enforcement.
However the patchwork of insurance policies rolled out by the administration in current weeks has put the president squarely at odds along with his personal allies.
Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus had beforehand voiced frustration with the administration when officers previewed the rule final month, saying they have been blindsided by the brand new border insurance policies and disillusioned over what they’ve mentioned is a scarcity of direct engagement by the White House.
The administration tried to right course in personal conferences final week with lawmakers concerning the anticipated launch of the brand new asylum rule. However in a single closed-door assembly with Homeland Safety Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Democratic Hispanic senators maintained their robust opposition and expressed their ongoing considerations, in response to a supply conversant in the assembly.
Amongst these within the room was Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey. The senator – who had beforehand written a letter to the president to share his considerations – condemned the proposed asylum rule on Tuesday in a joint assertion with Democratic Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico, and Alex Padilla of California.
“We’re deeply disillusioned that the administration has chosen to maneuver ahead with publishing this proposed rule, which solely perpetuates the dangerous fable that asylum seekers are a menace to this nation. In actuality, they’re pursuing a authorized pathway in the US,” the assertion mentioned.
“We have now an obligation to guard susceptible migrants beneath home and worldwide legislation and shouldn’t depart susceptible migrants stranded in international locations unable to guard them,” it continued.
In a press release, Luis Miranda, a Homeland Safety spokesperson, mentioned the proposal “is a part of a first-of-its-kind plan that expands authorized pathways and has already decreased unlawful immigration all whereas permitting hundreds of people to lawfully enter the US with out having to place their lives within the fingers of smugglers.”
Nonetheless, immigrant advocates and former Biden officers have slammed the transfer, calling it a pivot from Biden’s pledge to revive asylum and a transfer towards Trump-era insurance policies. Biden has lengthy promised to take a humane method to the state of affairs on the border – a promise that some critics say the present White House may threat breaking with a few of their restrictive border insurance policies.
Anu Joshi, deputy director of the Nationwide Political Advocacy Division on the American Civil Liberties Union, mentioned in a press release: “This asylum ban is, at its core, Trump’s asylum ban beneath a distinct identify.”