Attorney General Merrick Garland overturned two migrant asylum limits previously introduced by former president Donald Trump’s administration.
The first policy, Matter of A-B, was implemented by former attorney general Jeff Sessions in 2018. It mandated that migrants fleeing to the U.S. due to domestic abuse or economic uncertainty must display proof that their home country left them with “complete helplessness.”
The second policy, Matter of L-E-A, was implemented by former attorney general William Barr in 2019. It limited the circumstances in which asylum-seekers could claim they faced persecution based on their family association.
“These decisions involve important questions about the meaning of our Nation’s asylum laws, which reflect America’s commitment to providing refuge to some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta wrote in a memo announcing the policy changes to immigration judges.
The Biden administration already has overturned several of Trump’s immigration policies, including the successful “Remain in Mexico” policy, which immigration experts believe helped trigger the ongoing border crisis.
However, Biden has denied that his lax policies have contributed to the migration surge, claiming the looser policies are necessary.
“President Biden’s strategy is centered on the basic premise that our country is safer, stronger, and more prosperous with a fair, safe and orderly immigration system that welcomes immigrants, keeps families together, and allows people—both newly arrived immigrants and people who have lived here for generations—to more fully contribute to our country,” the White House said in a statement.
Last week, Biden announced he will ease asylum restrictions and admit up to 7,750 refugees into the U.S. each month, even though migrants are overwhelming border facilities.
Immigration officials apprehended more than 178,622 illegal immigrants at the southern border, and migrant housing facilities are still so full that the administration has had to house immigrants in nearby hotels.