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AOC Slams Biden Over Report He’s Considering “Outrageous” Sweeping Asylum Ban

“Doing Trump impressions isn’t how we beat Trump,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

National Guards, migrants and wire-spikes on the border are seen in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on January 29, 2024.

Progressive lawmakers are ripping into President Joe Biden over reports that he is considering using the same authority that Donald Trump invoked to establish his hateful Muslim Ban in order to enact sweeping bans on asylum at the southern border.

Multiple outlets are reporting that administration insiders say Biden is preparing to use his executive power to severely restrict immigration through a potential plan to bar asylum seekers from being able to be granted asylum if they enter the U.S. illegally. This would overturn long standing policies that allow immigrants to be granted protections upon entering the U.S., and could be disastrous for immigrants’ and asylum seekers’ rights.

“Doing Trump impressions isn’t how we beat Trump,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) on social media Wednesday. “Seeking asylum is a legal right of all people. In the face of authoritarian threat, we should not buckle on our principles — we should commit to them. The mere suggestion is outrageous and the President should refuse to sign it.”

Immigration advocates have said that Biden’s immigration policies have often echoed Trump’s or are virtually identical — and in some cases, the Biden administration has taken inhumane policies like immigrant concentration camps and expulsions of immigrants further than Trump did. The new plan, if implemented, would be another in a string of anti-immigration decisions, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) said.

“This would be an extremely disappointing mistake. Cruel enforcement-only policies have been tried for 30 years and simply do not work,” Jayapal wrote. “Democrats cannot continue to take pages out of Donald Trump and Stephen Miller’s playbook — we need to lead with dignity and humanity.”

The Biden administration’s plans are reportedly focused around Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which gives presidents authority to restrict the entry of asylum seekers if they are deemed “detrimental” to U.S. interests.

Trump had used 212(f) to bar travelers to the U.S. from countries with Muslim-majority populations, an openly Islamophobic policy that experts said was a flagrant violation of international humanitarian and asylum law. Various versions of the ban were in place for years until Biden revoked it on his first day in office in 2021.

Some experts have cast doubt on the ability of the Biden administration to implement a ban under 212(f), saying that this is an issue that has already been litigated and decided.

“President Biden has broad powers under the immigration statute, but they are not unlimited. Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act allows a president to suspend the entry of noncitizens who are ‘detrimental to the interests of the United States,’ but that doesn’t mean he can just shut the border to everyone,” said Cornell immigration law professor Stephen Yale-Loehr to CNN.

Still, a lack of legal authority may not be enough to stop the immigration policy from being implemented, especially with an ultra-conservative Supreme Court. Trump’s Muslim Ban had been struck down multiple times by lower courts saying that using 212(f) for his purposes were unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court ultimately upheld a version of the ban in 2018, which Trump then used to drastically expand his restrictive measures.

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