News & Resources

IRAP on New Executive Actions: “Disgraceful Political Theater”


June 4, 2024


Spencer Tilger,


Read IRAP Backgrounder: “The Human Consequences of Biden’s Forthcoming Attempt to ‘Shut Down’ the Border” 

(New York, NY) – Today, the Biden administration announced executive actions to further eviscerate the ability to seek protection through lawful means at the U.S. border. The new border measures will close the border to all asylum seekers, with virtually no process or individualized review, based on deeply flawed metrics. They will go into effect immediately based on current border encounter numbers.

The following is a statement from Hannah Flamm, Policy Counsel at the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP):

“President Biden is engaging in disgraceful political theater as he once again adopts President Trump’s most egregious immigration policies as his own. Today’s executive order is likely illegal and relies on the same executive authority Trump employed to institute the Muslim ban. For President Biden to invoke it is a travesty.

Whether viewed through the lens of the law, politics, or public opinion, today’s stunt is wrong and remarkably shortsighted. President Biden is reinforcing the harmful right-wing lie that the border has been ‘open’ and there is such a thing as lawfully ‘closing’ it. These actions make a mockery of U.S. and international law and further distances U.S. immigration policy from humane, workable solutions. 

Most importantly, these theatrics will have real and calamitous repercussions for IRAP’s clients and numerous others seeking safety. IRAP implores the Biden administration to abandon its morally bankrupt, politically misguided, and unlawful border strategy during the presidential campaign. Instead, President Biden should demonstrate the necessary leadership to reframe the border as a manageable, humanitarian situation and dedicate the resources to make it so.”

Yesterday, IRAP released a backgrounder: “The Human Consequences of Biden’s Forthcoming Attempt to ‘Shut Down’ the Border,” offering analysis of why the new executive order is deeply harmful – including how such border actions would have negatively impacted IRAP clients – excerpted below:

  • IRAP client “Marlo” fled Honduras with his young daughter, “Nadia,” strapped to his back in pursuit of urgent medical care for her. Nadia has hydrocephalus, preventing her from walking or eating by herself and causing multiple seizures daily. Upon reaching the U.S. border, officials turned Marlo and Nadia away because another border closure measure, Title 42, was in place. It was only with IRAP assistance in obtaining a rare exemption – one that is not reportedly built into the rule Biden is set to issue – that Marlo and Nadia could enter the United States. Nadia is now thriving with appropriate medical care. Mass expulsion policies mean children like her face devastating risks to their lives and a real chance of being refouled to the countries they have fled. 
  • IRAP client “Maylin” fled Guatemala to Mexico with her two children after her ex-partner attempted to kill her in Guatemala. Her U.S. citizen brother petitioned to bring Maylin and her children to the United States. Maylin’s ex-partner found her in Mexico and attempted to kidnap her children and kill her. It is only because of the executive branch parole authority that Maylin and her children were able to enter the United States lawfully, as parolees, where she is able to safely await the adjudication of her brother’s petition for her to become a Lawful Permanent Resident. Under the proposed border closure measure, people like Maylin who have pending permanent U.S. immigration relief might not have any individualized review before being sent back to Mexico or their countries of origin.
  • IRAP client “Ruth” fled Venezuela with her family after being attacked for working on an anti-government publication. The family sought asylum in Mexico, but after one member of Ruth’s family was arbitrarily detained in Mexico, they were forced to flee to the United States before their claims were adjudicated. They are now pursuing asylum in the United States. Under Biden’s new rule, they would have no chance to do so.

Additional Resources

  • Read “The Human Consequences of Biden’s Forthcoming Attempt to ‘Shut Down’ the Border” backgrounder: HERE
  • Read IRAP’s reaction to the Biden administrations previous attempt to pass asylum restrictions in Congress: HERE

The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) is a global legal aid and advocacy organization working to create a world where refugees and all people seeking safety are empowered to claim their right to freedom of movement and a path to lasting refuge. Everyone should have a safe place to live and a safe way to get there.