Skip Main Navigation

Biden Signs Executive Order Restricting Migrants at Border


The order would restrict asylum-seekers at the border when daily encounters exceed 2,500

Jun 4, 2024


President Biden talks about immigration

President Joe Biden signed an executive order Tuesday allowing him to “shut down” the southern border to asylum-seekers if illegal crossings surpass a predetermined threshold. This move, according to multiple sources familiar with the administration’s plans, is a decisive effort to tackle one of Biden’s most pressing political challenges ahead of the upcoming presidential election.

What Does the Order Say?

The order would invoke section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which allows the president to limit the entry of immigrants when deemed in the national interest. It would restrict asylum-seekers at the US-Mexico border when daily encounters exceed 2,500, a figure already surpassed, meaning the measure could take immediate effect. The border would reopen to asylum-seekers if the number of crossings falls below 1,500 for a sustained period.

Why Now?

The move is part of a broader attempt by the administration to demonstrate stronger border control in response to increasing political pressure. The White House has in recent months taken steps to expedite the asylum process and deter migration, amid criticism from Republicans and internal disagreements among Democrats. Biden’s approach aims to balance these pressures while addressing the surge in illegal crossings, a focal point of attacks from former President Donald Trump and his supporters.

Trump has made hardline immigration policies a cornerstone of his campaign, pledging to close the border on his first day if re-elected. He recently remarked on Fox & Friends, “The border patrol, I know them so well. They endorsed me, they always endorse me. They say when Trump goes back, it will all be better.” He further claimed that the border situation is now “100 times worse than it was in 2016.”

Boundless ensures seamless immigration processes in the ever-changing employment landscape.

Schedule demo

House Speaker Mike Johnson also criticized the anticipated executive action, calling it “too little, too late.” He questioned why Biden did not take unilateral action sooner, echoing the sentiment of many Republicans.

For months, Biden officials have deliberated over the timing of this executive order. Initially anticipated before the president’s State of the Union address, the plans were delayed due to a decline in border crossings following increased enforcement in Mexico. The administration also aimed to leverage the failure of a bipartisan border security bill to criticize Republicans, who opposed the measure after Trump encouraged them to do so.

Potential Backlash

However, the success of the executive order remains uncertain. The use of section 212(f), a tactic frequently employed by Trump, will likely draw backlash from progressive groups and potential legal challenges.

White House spokesperson Angelo Fernández Hernández stated, “While Congressional Republicans chose to stand in the way of additional border enforcement, President Biden will not stop fighting to deliver the resources that border and immigration personnel need to secure our border.” He emphasized that the administration continues to explore policy options to address the “broken immigration system.”

Immigration policy experts warn that the policy may not substantially alter the situation at the border. Despite efforts to limit asylum-seekers during border spikes, smugglers and traffickers are likely to continue targeting nationalities like Cubans, Venezuelans, and Colombians, who cannot be easily deported to their home countries. Experts also caution that border shutdowns tied to specific illegal crossing numbers could result in more erratic surges in remote areas, complicating Border Patrol’s security efforts.

While Biden administration officials do not expect the policy to resolve the border crisis, which requires congressional action, they hope it can alleviate some political pressure on the president ahead of the November election.

Start building your success story today

Let’s explore how we can tailor our approach to you and your business.