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Jayapal: Any Biden action restricting migrants seeking asylum would be ‘extremely disappointing mistake’

Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said if President Biden takes executive action to restrict migrants seeking asylum at the southern border, he would be making a “mistake.”

“This would be an extremely disappointing mistake,” Jayapal wrote on X, formerly Twitter, in response to CNN’s reporting that Biden is considering blocking those who cross into the United States illegally from filing an asylum claim. “Cruel enforcement-only policies have been tried for 30 years and simply do not work.”

“Democrats cannot continue to take pages out of Donald Trump and Stephen Miller’s playbook — We need to lead with dignity and humanity,” she added, referring to the former president’s senior adviser.

Jayapal’s warning comes as Biden continues to face pressure to take action to curb the influx of migration at the southern border and an asylum system that even many Democrats have said is broken.

CNN’s reporting, while indicating no decision had been made by the White House on future steps, said the action under consideration “involves using an authority known as 212f between ports of entry to try to clamp down on unlawful border crossing.”

The news comes after months of negotiations in the Senate produced a bipartisan border agreement that would have raised standards for asylum screening and sped up the process, ended the practice known as “catch and release” and given the president more authority to close the border once crossings reach a certain threshold.

Biden endorsed the agreement at the time, saying it “includes the toughest and fairest set of border reforms in decades.”

The bill fell apart, however, after President Trump publicly opposed its passage and it became clear it had little chance of passing in the House. The failed bill was also highly criticized by progressive Democrats, including Jayapal.

A White House spokesperson, who did not comment on the executive actions proposed by the president, reiterated calls for the House GOP to agree to a bipartisan deal that includes border security, per CNN.

“The Administration spent months negotiating in good faith to deliver the toughest and fairest bipartisan border security bill in decades because we need Congress to make significant policy reforms and to provide additional funding to secure our border and fix our broken immigration system,” White House spokesperson Angelo Fernández Hernández said in the statement.

“No executive action, no matter how aggressive, can deliver the significant policy reforms and additional resources Congress can provide and that Republicans rejected,” he added. “We continue to call on Speaker Johnson and House Republicans to pass the bipartisan deal to secure the border.”

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