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Biden Admin’s New Asylum Rule Is Yet Another Presidential Pivot

Constant course changes raise a concerning question: Who’s behind the wheel?

The Biden administration announced a new rule Thursday, May 9, to reject more migrants earlier in the asylum process. Identifying which people are ineligible to enter the US in the initial “credible fear” interview will, according to the Department of Homeland Security, empower asylum officials to more rapidly deport those who aren’t going to be approved. And while it is an about-face on the issue of illegal immigration, it’s far from the first.

The president has reversed course on his public comments and the official policy of the United States on the southern border, Israel’s war on Hamas, and much more, seemingly driven by little more than knee-jerk reactions to public opinion. At this point, the near-constant switching of position has become the rule rather than an exception.

Time to Tighten Up – For Now

“The proposed rule we have published today is yet another step in our ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of the American public by more quickly identifying and removing those individuals who present a security risk and have no legal basis to remain here,” Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said. As explained in the DHS press release, federal law already prohibits people who pose a national security or public safety risk from asylum. However, that determination is typically made much later in the asylum process, well after the person in question has been in-country.

The new rule change moves up that determination to what’s called the “credible fear screening,” which is when – normally just days after an individual is first encountered – officials determine whether the applicant has a valid reason to seek asylum. DHS also passed the blame for and downplayed the severity of the influx of illegals, of course – so perhaps one can argue this pivot isn’t a total 180. “We will continue to take action, but fundamentally it is only Congress that can fix what everyone agrees is a broken immigration system,” Mayorkas said in the announcement. Already seeking to minimize negative publicity, the opening paragraph states that the rule will enable DHS to more quickly remove people “even though the number of migrants who are subject to these bars is small.”

“The Biden-Harris Administration has already taken numerous actions to address migration challenges in the region and at our border, while overseeing a historic expansion of lawful pathways,” the press release continues. That’s a far cry from how the administration handled the border crisis in the first few years of Joe Biden’s presidency: pretending it didn’t exist.

A Bad Look for Biden?

But even after the White House was forced to admit to a problem down south, the response was far from consistent. One may recall that, just days before DHS announced the new asylum rule, it was revealed that the Biden administration has been flying migrants up from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela in a mass parole program launched in early 2023. As Liberty Nation reported, more than 400,000 otherwise inadmissible aliens were flown into the country at more than 50 airports across numerous states and the District of Columbia. It was also recently revealed that, despite American citizens being required to show photo ID to get through TSA checkpoints for travel, illegals have been allowed to use actual arrest warrants to verify their identities. Let that sink in a moment: Illegals who are fugitives from the law have been allowed to travel across America using their warrants as IDs without being arrested! And while Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is hoping to pass a law to prohibit this, it has been going on since 2022.

So why the change? Could it be that secretly flying in migrants at night and using arrest warrants to verify identity for travel rather than incarceration makes Biden look bad in an election year? According to an April 2024 Gallup poll – released before these two issues dominated the headlines last week – respondents chose immigration as the most important problem facing the US, with the government in general coming in second nine percentage points down. This makes the third month in a row, which is the longest stretch for this particular issue in the past 24 years. Can the president’s latest pivot, this new DHS rule, massage public opinion enough by the time Gallup publishes May’s results to break the trend?

Directionless Diplomacy

Immigration may be the big news of the day, but it’s far from the only issue the president has allowed to be driven by public reactions. The administration seemed unified, initially, in “ironclad” support of Israel after the Hamas attack on October 7, 2023. In fact, administration officials still use that term – ironclad – explicitly to refer to America’s support of Israel even when announcing a “pause” in weapon shipments.

The president’s “ironclad” support lasted about as long as it took for pro-Palestinian progressives both in and out of Congress and both on and off college campuses around the nation to turn on him. And what was his reactionary response? Call for a cease-fire, accuse Israel of not caring about civilian casualties, and halt the shipment of weapons and ammunition to an American ally embroiled in a war against an enemy that wants to eradicate them entirely.

The constant course corrections in this administration are enough to make one wonder who’s behind the wheel. The answer, it seems, is whoever happens to scream the loudest at President Joe Biden.

Read More From James Fite

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