The Biden administration is reportedly weighing a new rule that would ban asylum seekers from entering the US illegally for five months amid fears that migrant border crossings will surge to 14,000 a day when Title 42 is lifted next week.
The draft rule, which has been circulated within the White House, would apply to adults and families who enter the US illegally — as well as those who arrive at legal ports of entry without prior authorization, sources told Axios.
No final decision has been made on whether to implement the rule, which would drastically limit a migrant’s ability to apply for asylum in the US, the sources added.
Under the draft rule, migrants would be deemed ineligible for asylum in the US unless they applied for a legal pathway into the US, sought protection in another country en route to the US, or are facing extreme circumstances.
The White House wouldn’t comment on the possible policy change, instead pointing to a Dec. 2 statement from press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre that said “no such decisions have been made.”
It comes as the Biden administration braces for the possibility that between 12,000 to 14,000 migrants could flood across the US southern border each day as the Title 42 pandemic-era border restrictions nears its Dec. 21 expiry date.
Title 42 was put in place in early 2020 by former President Donald Trump as a way to quickly expel migrants without hearing their asylum claims amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
It was primarily applied to migrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, but expanded to include Venezuelans earlier this year amid an influx of asylum seekers from the country.
Some migrants have already started amassing on the Mexican side of the border in anticipation of Title 42 being lifted next week.
The threat of an influx of migrants reportedly pushed the current administration to consider the possible five-month ban.
President Biden has repeatedly come under fire over his handling of the ongoing border crisis since he took office.
A record 2.4 million migrants were stopped at the US-Mexico border in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 — a 37% surge from a year earlier, according to the latest Border Patrol data.