“two Swedish fans were shot dead. The alleged gunman, named as Abdesalem Lassoued, posted two videos online, in which he claimed to be a “fighter for Allah” and that he was a supporter of Islamic State.
Here the script is depressingly familiar. Reports in the English and Belgian media state the gunman was Tunisian, had been in the country since 2016, and was “known to the police”. His asylum application had been rejected in 2020, but a request to leave Belgium had not been enacted as Lassoued had moved house. A subsequent arrest for making threats on social media was working its way through the Belgian legal system.
It would be easy to blame some of these problems on Belgium itself. Districts of Brussels have long been allowed to opt out from the rule of law, and the nation’s multiple police forces are hardly a by-word for competence. But the situation is little better elsewhere. On Friday, France witnessed its second murder of a school teacher by an Islamist. Here the suspect was again ‘known to the police’ as an alleged extremist and has a brother in prison for terrorist offences.
Britain is no better. In November 2021, an asylum seeker in Liverpool died while attempting to blow up the city’s women’s hospital. Emad Al-Swealmeen had originally entered Britain on a tourist visa, claiming he wanted to see Britain’s Got Talent be recorded in Belfast. Al-Swealmeen was still in the UK six years after his asylum claim was rejected.
Huge numbers of primarily young men, have crossed Europe’s leaky borders since 2015. Research for Policy Exchange earlier this year found 83% of those crossing the channel on small boats in 2022, were male. We know next to nothing about who they are or what they believe. In many cases they move to communities where levels of integration is already poor, and extremist ideals have currency.”
“Mexico has made an agreement with the United States to deport migrants from its border cities to their home countries and take several actions to deter migrants as part of a new effort to combat the recent surge in border crossings.
Mexican officials met with US Customs and Border Protection officials on Friday in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico – across the border from El Paso, Texas – following the recent spike in illegal crossings into the US that temporarily closed an international bridge and paused Mexico’s main cargo train system.
As part of the agreement, Mexico agreed to “depressurize” its northern cities, which border the El Paso, San Diego and Eagle Pass, Texas, where the mayor has declared a state of emergency. They will also implement more than a dozen actions to prevent migrants from risking their lives by using the railway system to reach the US-Mexico border, according to Mexico’s National Migration Institute.”
“Today’s legal immigration system is drastically different than what it was historically. Post-independence, the U.S. took a broadly liberal approach to welcoming newcomers. “Even when it finally adopted some rules in the late 19th century, immigrants were presumed eligible for permanent residence unless the government showed that they fell into specific and usually narrow ineligible categories,” writes Bier.
Now, would-be migrants have to prove their eligibility based on strict prerequisites that vanishingly few can fulfill. That shift hasn’t reduced demand for migration pathways—it’s just created a black market, much like other forms of prohibition. Rather than looking to a sensible, straightforward, and sanctioned visa application process, migrants of many stripes look to smugglers and illegal entry to reach American soil. This has made their journeys far more dangerous (and, in many cases, deadly).”
“Now that Title 42 has ended, migrants apprehended at the border are subject to what’s called “Title 8” processing, which, as the Biden administration has emphasized, carries more severe long-term consequences for those found ineligible for legal protections, including asylum.
Under Title 42, migrants who were turned away were not penalized for crossing the border without authorization, and in many cases attempted to reenter multiple times. But under Title 8, migrants found ineligible for legal protections are barred from reentering the country for at least five years and can be quickly deported through a process called “expedited removal” without ever appearing before an immigration judge. And if they do try to reenter, they can face criminal prosecution.
Biden administration officials are hoping that the new system serves as deterrence to migrants thinking about crossing without authorization and instead encourages them to pursue new legal pathways to the US.”
“Biden has expanded lawful pathways for migrants to come to the US with the aim of reducing pressure on the southern border. The Biden administration has already created a program under which the US-based family members of migrants from Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba, and Nicaragua — who have arrived in increasingly large numbers at the southern border in the last year — can apply to bring them to the US legally.
The administration has outlined a plan that involves opening new processing centers in Central and South America where migrants can apply to come to the US, Spain, or Canada legally. It’s unclear, however, when those processing centers will open. It has also pledged to accept 100,000 people from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras under another family reunification program.
Some of those programs have proved successful. But they’re still not enough on their own to meet the current need for legal migration channels, after years in which Trump administration policies created pent-up demand, said Doug Rivlin, a spokesperson for the immigrant advocacy group America’s Voice.
“That’s not enough. And it can’t replace the need to have a functioning asylum system at the border,” he said.
To that end, the administration is also planning to speed up processing on the border, quickly identifying individuals who have valid asylum claims and turning away those who don’t.”
“New plans pushed by President Joe Biden are hardly what one might call migrant-friendly: The plans slowly expand tools for would-be immigrants to apply to come here legally (with no guarantees, of course) while making it much more difficult for those who actually try to cross the border to get legal status.
To the former point, Biden says the U.S. will set up more Regional Processing Centers where migrants can apply for legal immigration status in the U.S., Canada, or Spain from within Latin America, rather than simply show up at the U.S-Mexico border.
Regional Processing Centers are “designed to cut smugglers out of the equation by giving people access to protection and legal pathways earlier in their migration journey, and eventually before they cross international lines at all,” notes Andrew Selee at the Migration Policy Institute. However, “little is known as yet about how these centers will function in practice,” and “they will only exist in embryonic form, if at all, by the time Title 42 ends.”
Meanwhile, Biden has enacted new restrictions for asylum-seekers as well. These include “the adoption of stricter asylum rules that make it harder to get protection in the United States for those who have crossed the border unlawfully,” notes The New York Times:
“Under the old system, which critics called “catch and release,” many migrants who reached the United States would ask for asylum and be allowed to remain in the country until their case was resolved in immigration court.
The Biden administration’s new rule presumes that those who do not use lawful pathways to enter the United States are ineligible for asylum when they show up at the border. Migrants at the border can rebut this presumption only if they sought asylum or protection in another country through which they traveled en route to the United States and were denied safe haven there, or if they can demonstrate exceptional circumstances, such as a medical emergency.
They may have a phone interview from a border holding facility with an asylum officer, and can be quickly deported if they are found ineligible to apply. Unlike under Title 42, they will receive a permanent mark on their record that bans them from entering the United States for five years, and could face criminal charges.””
“Hundreds of active-duty U.S. troops are descending on the Mexican border this week, but they’re not authorized to make arrests, use their weapons or do much more than administrative work.
That’s making the military deployment — timed for the end of pandemic-era immigration restrictions — a classic no-win political situation for the Biden administration, which is getting hit from at least one prominent Democrat for perpetuating Trump-era militarization of the border, and from Republicans who say the mission will be utterly ineffectual.”
“Biden is responding to the expected end of Title 42, which has allowed the U.S. to deny asylum and migration claims for public health reasons. Officials say the expiration of Title 42 on Thursday will prompt an influx of Central Americans into the U.S.”
“Officials say they would have preferred to rely on law enforcement agents for the mission, but the Department of Homeland Security is short on people and money. So the administration is turning to what they have now, which is 1,500 active-duty troops. And officials say they will be there for only 90 days, until law enforcement can find contractors to do the work.”
“The 1,500 troops Biden is sending will be armed for self-defense only and are not authorized to use force, make arrests or otherwise act in a law enforcement role. This is in keeping with the Posse Comitatus Act, which prevents the active-duty military from enforcing the law inside the United States.
“Military personnel will not be permitted to support migrant processing and escort duties or other activities that involve direct participation in civilian law enforcement activities, be responsible for property seized from migrants, or require direct contact with migrants,” according to a statement from U.S. Northern Command.
Instead, they will be performing administrative tasks such as data entry, warehousing, and additional detection and monitoring support to free up Border Patrol agents to deal with the migrants.
They are joining 2,500 National Guard troops on active-duty status — also subject to Posse Comitatus — already doing similar work at the border since July 2022.
By contrast, Trump granted active-duty troops the authority to protect law enforcement agents if they engaged in violence in November 2018, a controversial move that put the military in direct contact with migrants.”
“Part of the reason Trump sent troops to the border in 2018 was to help build his long-promised wall along the Mexican border. The Pentagon was directed to send members of the Army Corps of Engineers to help lay miles of concertina wire and erect other barriers and fencing.”
“Trump also shifted billions meant for military infrastructure projects to finance the border wall. The move drew bipartisan opposition, but Congress wasn’t able to muster the support to stop Trump.
Biden canceled the project when he took office, but kept the National Guard presence on the border for other support missions.”