Joe Biden
The decision is aimed at stemming the flow of arrivals at the southern border AFP

President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday a series of measures aimed at stemming the flow of migrants reaching the country, with heavy restrictions to asylum claims once arrivals reach a certain threshold.

The decision, in the making for months, will go into effect when the number of encounters between ports of entry reaches 2,500 per day, senior administration officials told The Associated Press.

According to the White House, the action was already enforced on Tuesday. "They will make it easier for immigration officers to remove those without a lawful basis to remain and reduce the burden on our Border Patrol agents," the administration added in a press release.

The statement also called for legislation on the matter, saying that "this cannot achieve the same results as Congressional action, and it does not provide the critical personnel and funding needed to further secure our Southern border." "Congress still must act."

The message is aimed at Republicans, who despite clamors to crackdown on immigration last week again blocked a bill that would have enshrined some efforts of the kind into law. The vote was meant to underscore GOP resistance to the proposal even as Republicans have asked for more restrictions and argued that Biden is not doing enough to stifle the flow of migrants, the Associated Press reports.

The measures are set to be in effect until two weeks after a seven-day average shows daily encounters at 1,500 people per day or below. During this period, migrants who don't express fear of returning to their home countries will be immediately deported and could face punishments including a five-year ban from reentering the country. Those who do express fear will need to reach a higher threshold to be allowed in.

The measures considered are an attempt to ease the system's overwhelmed asylum requests, along with a new effort to speed up the cases of migrants already in America and another meant to quicken processing for migrants with criminal records or those who would otherwise be eventually deemed ineligible for asylum in the U.S.

The order is expected to meet legal challenges as Biden faces increased pressures to address illegal migration, a top concern for voters ahead of this year's election.

"Legislation is what is needed," Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said last month. "Executive action will be challenged. I am confident in that. And then the question will be what is the outcome of those proceedings? Legislation is a more certain delivery of solution."

Donald Trump's campaign criticized Biden's decision, saying that the measure won't improve the situation at the southern border but rather release unlawful immigrants quicker than usual.

"Let's be clear—Joe Biden's executive order is for amnesty, not border security," Trump campaign national press secretary Karoline Leavitt said in a campaign message Tuesday morning.

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