ACLU Plans on Suing Biden Over Migrant Border Crossing Restrictions

By: Stephanie Bontorin | Published: Jun 07, 2024

On Tuesday evening, an executive order to limit the number of people crossing the border who can apply for asylum status was enacted. Once a threshold is fulfilled for the day, border guards will not allow any more migrants to enter from the Mexican border.

The announcement caused lawyers with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to announce their own plans to sue President Biden.

Policies Enacted Are Similar to Past Actions Taken by Trump

The executive actions to restrict asylum seekers is similar to orders put into place by former President Donald Trump.

Former President Donald Trump speaking at a podium during a rally, with supporters holding signs in the background

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Lee Gelernt, the deputy director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, was a part of the team that successfully sued to block Trump-era migrant bans. Gelernt said in a statement, “It was illegal when Trump did it, and it is no less illegal now.”

The ACLU Aims Their Sights on Suing Biden to Block the Order

In an interview with Gelernt, he notes that the ACLU intends to sue President Biden to block the executive order.

A man with grey hair wearing a dark suit

Source: @IamBrandonBrown/X

In the past, the group has successfully blocked measures that restrict the rights and freedoms of both landed Americans and migrants seeking a better future for themselves and their families.

Trump Weighs in on Biden’s New Policy

In an interview with Fox News, Trump claims that Biden’s new order has nothing to do with border security, and the current President still intends on letting in millions of illegal immigrants each year.

Donald Trump seated at a desk in a boardroom setting, looking at a computer screen

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Many people speculate that the executive order is reminiscent of Trump-era politics, and it shows the meeting ground between the two parties. For instance, in recent months Pres. Biden announced strict tariffs on Chinese imports, a decision that Trump says should have been made years ago.

Gelernt Says American’s Want More Balance on Immigration

Galernt says that most Americans don’t want to return to Trump politics, such as the family separation act that split up parents from small children of all ages when they reached the border under a zero-tolerance policy.

A man with grey hair, a striped blue shirt, and a black suit jacket speaking on a news channel

Source: @democracynow/X

Instead of extremist policies and wide open borders, most Americans can agree that some level of immigration should be tolerated. However, the new order announced leans more towards strict rules that would do more to hurt families attempting to reunite.

ACLU Says the Stand is Too Extreme

The illegality of the order is directly related to how extreme and punishable it is.

A clear and detailed view of the front facade of the U.S. Supreme Court, showcasing the neoclassical architecture and the phrase "Equal Justice Under Law" inscribed above the columns.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The limit set at a certain number of migrants each day doesn’t allow room for people in need of help who feel persecuted.


Asylum Process Needs to Become More Efficient

Members of the ACLA say that sending back individuals and families to certain death is an extreme stance that doesn’t need to be taken at the border crossing.

An aerial view of the metal border wall between Texas and Mexico

Source: Greg Bulla/Unsplash

Instead, they recommend streamlining the asylum-seeking process to allow in the most extreme cases first. The new order will end screening for all asylum seekers if they reach the border after the limit is reached for the day.


What Is Illegal About the New Policy?

Congress has already decided that when a person reaches US soil, even after entering illegally, that person has the right to be screened for asylum status.

The top of the Supreme Court building at sunset.

Ian Hutchinson/Unsplash

It can often be difficult for migrants on foot to reach proper border crossings or ports of entry. Being screened for asylum is not a guarantee of entry or safety, however, the ACLU says that anyone on US soil deserves the opportunity at a fair shot.


ACLU Recommends Adding More Legal Pathways

The legal team with the ACLU recommends adding more legal pathways for immigration in the US.

Exterior view of a U.S. Border Patrol Station with a clear sky, featuring a modern facade with a sign above the entrance reading "U.S. Border Patrol Station."

Source: Wikimedia Commons

If asylum seekers and other migrants feeling persecution could legally enter the US, the border would see far fewer attempts at illegal entry. Also, more legal migrants in the US would add more people to the workforce, which is currently desperately needed.


Biden Administration Not Interested in Demonizing Immigrants

One thing that the Biden administration has been sure to do during this process is to keep families together and avoid inflammatory language about migrants attempting to access protections in the US.

President Joe Biden delivering a speech from a podium in a well-appointed room at the White House, with American flags and the Presidential Seal in the background

Source: POTUS/X

However, the cut-off for asylum seekers who should be legally allowed to access it is an unintended consequence of the restrictive border laws.


Migrants Who Reach Proper Entry Points Will Still Be Screened for Asylum

There is good news for migrants seeking safety in the United States. Anyone able to legally access the proper access points will still undergo proper screening for asylum status.

A United States border agent assesses a passport of a foreign traveler at the airport

Source: Homeland Security

The limits imposed on the southern border only apply to people illegally crossing at random points. This method of immigration has become the norm in recent years. Coyotes and smugglers have encouraged the wrong message that anyone crossing the border at random will be picked up by border security and formally added to the system.


Mexico Is Now Concerned About the Potential Backlog of Migrants

Most migrants crossing the southern border don’t come from Mexico. Many are from South America. However, there has been a spike in migrants flying from all over the globe into Mexico with the intent of illegally crossing the US border.

A long line of migrants, including many children, queued along a dusty road beside a tall metal border fence

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Mexican officials are now concerned that the changes in border crossing will negatively affect their own country. As well, it might become Mexico’s responsibility to send migrants back to their home country if they become trapped.