SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — The San Diego Rapid Response Network and other migrant advocacy organizations in California are wasting little time in “condemning” President Joe Biden’s proposal to restrict asylum into the United States.

The idea is that migrants will be denied asylum if they don’t seek asylum in the first country they cross on their way to the United States.

Instead, migrants must apply online through the CBP One app for an appointment before they can approach one of eight ports of entry along the southern border.

In a written statement, the SDRRN called the president’s plan a “reprehensible step backwards.”

A spokesperson for the organization wrote: “We strongly urge that the administration immediately withdraw this proposal.”

It also listed a number of concerns with Biden’s plan:

  • This policy effectively prohibits most asylum seekers from exercising their right to seek safety in the U.S., and will force many people to remain in situations that could endanger their lives. These are families and individuals fleeing persecution and violence. They deserve safety, not further harm.
  • Assisting more than 125,000 asylum seekers since October 2018, SDRRN Migrant Shelter Services reports that 98% of migrants have family or loved ones in the U.S. that they are traveling to. Requiring them to request protection elsewhere does not allow for these reunifications, and may separate families further.
  • SDRRN Migrant Shelter Services prioritizes working with the most vulnerable asylum seekers, including families, pregnant people, those with medical conditions and/or LGBTQ+. This new policy would not make exceptions for people who at the greatest risk and prevents them from accessing safety altogether.
  • We have repeatedly provided concrete solutions. Just today, SDRRN released more evidence in a report in coordination with the Women’s Refugee Commission proving that humane, viable and cost-effective processes to welcome people seeking asylum in the U.S. are possible, as well as providing recommendations for how the federal government can use the model in San Diego nationally.
  • This policy is setting a harmful precedent that could be extremely hard to undo and a potentially long-lasting impact.

Other migrant advocates in San Diego have also come out against the new policy, which is set to take effect when Title 42 is eliminated in May.

Pedro Rios is a migrant advocate and director of American Friends Service Committee in San Diego. (Elliot Macias/KSWB)

Right now, Title 42 allows U.S. agents and officers to immediately expel most migrants before they can ask for asylum.

“It’s disheartening to know that the Biden administration is replicating some of the worst policies the Trump administration attempted to put forward,” said Pedro Rios, director of the American Friends Service Committee.

Rios said the new Biden plan puts migrants in peril, especially children who are exempt from the regulations.

Rios fears asylum-seekers will become even more dependent on smugglers and children will get separated from their parents and families leading to another surge of unaccompanied minors along the southern border.

In Tijuana, Pastor Albert Rivera, who runs the Agape migrant shelter, said Biden’s new policy will drive a much higher number of Mexican nationals to the border to seek asylum.

“These are people who are fleeing all the cartels and the violence they create, with this word of Biden’s plan, you’re going to see at least an 80 percent increase in the number of Mexicans arriving at the border with the United States.”