This week, the major news coming out of the White House is President Biden’s executive order limiting asylum at the southern border. Announced on June 4, the measure came into effect immediately, with asylum limits that will apply when the seven-day average of daily border crossings exceeds 2,500 between ports of entry to the country. As URL Media partner La Noticia reports, the current average of weekly crossings is at least 4,000. For those who manage to obtain an appointment to request asylum through the CBP One mobile application, which offers approximately 1,450 appointments daily, their cases will continue to be processed under established protocols. However, for other migrants, border officials will not conduct the credible fear interviews necessary for asylum applications. Instead, immigration officers will have the authority to deport those asylum seekers. 

The decision comes as immigration remains at the center of the conversations about this year’s general elections. The Republican Party, and its projected candidate for the presidency — Donald Trump — have frequently accused the president of being lax on illegal immigration. Yet critics have compared Biden’s new executive order with some of the most draconian policies implemented by his opponents. 

U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla accused Biden of reviving former President Donald Trump’s “asylum ban,” highlighted URL Media partner El Tecolote.  

“President Biden has undermined American values and abandoned our nation’s obligations to provide people fleeing persecution, violence, and authoritarianism with an opportunity to seek refuge in the U.S.,” he said. 

“The Biden administration’s action closing the U.S.-Mexico border is violating the rights of asylum-seekers who have no ability to present with an appointment at a port of entry,” Hannah Flamm, policy counsel at the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP), told URL Media partner Prism.  “Asylum-seekers from around the world wait in extreme danger in Mexico in hopes of obtaining one of these appointments because no one seeking protection in the U.S. wishes to not follow the rules. The problem is that the rules don’t work in reality, by design. They exclude the vast majority of people.”

However, when announcing the new executive order, the president said that a lack of cooperation from Republicans forced his hand. “Frankly, I would have preferred to address this issue through bipartisan legislation, that’s the only way to actually get the kind of system we have now — that’s broken — fixed, to hire more Border Patrol agents, more asylum officers, more judges. But Republicans have left me with no choice.”

It remains to be seen if this decision will resonate with or repel a voting populace that increasingly appears to disapprove of President Biden, while at the same time sees the other major party candidate embroiled in court trials and federal convictions. 

Immigration is just one of the themes that URL Media, our partners, and the nation is watching closely ahead of this year’s pivotal elections. Here at URL, we are also closely covering issues like voter safety, disinformation, and the role of race — including underlooked candidates who reflect minority communities. Check out our dedicated Elections 2024 section on our website for continued coverage throughout election season and beyond. 

Our partners are also featuring coverage on issues important to their communities. WURD Radio is focusing on democracy at large, but also how it shows up for Black communities. palabra. is probing the intersections between identity and voting access, such as in its recent story Voting in English y español. Epicenter-NYC is focusing on amplifying the voices of Gen Z, as well as reaching out to disengaged voters. 

More broadly, our partners have been ably covering the historic elections taking place around the world. At least 64 countries are holding elections this year — two of which made our partner headlines this week, with Mexico electing its first woman president in Claudia Sheinbaum, and India re-electing Prime Minister Narendra Modi (though his Bharatiya Janata Party failed to receive a majority in the government). 

Stay tuned for more information on URL Media’s election coverage, and stay connected to us on our social media channels Instagram and X @url_media

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