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Federal judge blocks Biden asylum-seekers rule, but administration can appeal

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A federal judge has blocked President Biden's approach to migration at the U.S.-Mexico border.

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

This is the policy Biden put in place in the spring. Pandemic restrictions expired amid widespread panic that a rush of people would illegally cross over. That didn't happen, partly because the administration replaced those restrictions with new ones.

INSKEEP: NPR's Joel Rose describes a carrot and stick, as they say - an app to apply for legal entry more easily and a warning against illegal entry.

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: These new rules that took effect in May make it harder for migrants to get asylum if they don't use that app and if they cross the border illegally, after passing through Mexico or another country without seeking protection there first.

FADEL: All this was done through regulations rather than laws, and the judge says that's the problem.

ROSE: He found that the rules were unlawful because they impose conditions on asylum-seekers that Congress did not intend.

INSKEEP: The judge did allow time for an appeal, which the administration will do.

FADEL: For the moment, Katrina Eiland says it's a victory for people trying to enter the U.S. She's with the American Civil Liberties Union and argued against the rules in court.

KATRINA EILAND: Asylum-seekers can come to this country and seek refuge, and they should be able to seek asylum regardless of how they enter the country.

INSKEEP: Her view prevailed before one judge. The appeal will tell us what others think.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Leila Fadel is a national correspondent for NPR based in Los Angeles, covering issues of culture, diversity, and race.
Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.