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From the New York Times, I'm Sabrina Tavernisi, and this is The Daily.


Good afternoon. I've come here today to do what the Republicans and Congress refuse to do.


Last week, President Biden announced one of the most restrictive immigration policies by a Democratic President in decades.


Today, I'm announcing actions to bar our migrants who cross our Southern border unlawfully from receiving asylum.


Showing just how much the politics of immigration in America have changed.


To protect America as a land that welcomes immigrants, we must first secure the border and secure it now.


Today, my colleague Zolan Kano-Yams explains. It's Tuesday, June 11th.


Thank Thank you very much.


Zolan, we last talked in March, and at that point, Biden was threatening to take tough action on the border. Crossings had been extraordinarily high, and this had been a real political liability for Biden. But it wasn't clear what he would do or when he would do it. Last week, we got the answer.


That's right. Last week, President Biden took the most restrictive approach we've seen at the Southwest border of any modern democratic president. President Biden issued executive actions, drastically changing migration policy at the Southwest border. So at 12:01 AM Wednesday, the President suspended asylum at the Southwest border. Migrants crossing the border would no longer have the ability to seek asylum in the United States. And this was a sea change. For decades, the law has basically stated that those that step on US soil had the ability to seek asylum. These are people that are crossing the border without the necessary documents that they would need to come into the country, but they've had the ability to make their case for why they need safe haven. This is a drastic change to that standard.


What exactly does this executive order do? How does it work?


Basically, it depends on the number of people who are crossing the southwest border. As soon as this went into effect, make no mistake, asylum is suspended. But say the average daily number of crossings dip below a certain level, then essentially these restrictions would be lifted. At a time of surging crossings, they would be imposed, essentially sealing the Southwest border to asylum seeking migrants. But one key fact here is for most of the Biden administration, we have been at a time of surging crossings at the Southwest border.


What are the actual numbers we're talking about here? You're saying crossings have been surging.


Sure. Just Last week, officials told me and my colleagues that crossings were still well over 3,000 a day.


Is that a lot?


That is a lot. In the Obama administration, government officials said that a thousand crossings a day were a crisis. Oh, wow. The 3,000 a day, Sabrina, aren't even the peak that we've seen under the Biden administration. Just this past December, the administration was scrambling in a panic over 10,000 illegal crossings a day. So all of this is context when we look at the details of this executive order. When you think about the current level of crossings that we've seen in the United States, it doesn't seem like these restrictions are going to be lifted anytime soon.


Biden, in essence, just stopped our asylum system because it sounds like the numbers are very high, not going to go down far enough in order to suspend this new policy. So what's the effect here? I mean, as of 12:01 AM last Wednesday, what was happening at the border?


It seems like there's a slow pace of implementation right now. It is worth adding that there are exemptions to this. Migrants who have not yet crossed the border who make an appointment on a smartphone app, they would still be able to seek asylum. But based off our reporting, we have seen some migrants already getting turned away. I'm shocked as well because for years, the thinking among those crossing the border, there was an awareness that you would cross, you'd be able to ask for asylum, you'd essentially be given a ticket to show up in court, and crucially, you'd be allowed to stay in the United States while you wait for that court appearance, sometimes for years. There are signs that that might not be happening here. We do not yet have the drastic reductions in crossings across the border. But that's not the only metric here. It's not just Can we stop the number of people approaching or crossing the border? The question is, once they cross the border, will they be able to stay? According to this executive order, most of them will not be able to stay.


What does What does all of that mean effectively? Will we be deporting all these people who try to seek asylum?


Yeah. I mean, even though this executive order has now been been issued, I mean, there's also going to be questions about just how effectively they can implement this in the weeks ahead and whether or not they can do this. You're essentially saying that a majority of those who cross the Southwest border now are not going to be able to seek asylum and could be returned to Mexico or their home country. But it takes a lot of resources to do that. You need immigration officers to encounter these migrants. You also need enough planes, enough flights to actually return people to their home countries. This executive order doesn't have those resources. It doesn't come with billions of dollars in funding to actually carry this out. Make no mistake, the Biden administration has been talking about it for months. There was a Senate bill, a bipartisan one in Congress that would have many of these restrictions at the border, as well as billions of dollars in funding for some of the immigration agencies that would carry this out. But what we've seen here, these executive actions don't have the money. Will they have the resources to carry this out?


That's a primary question for us covering this moving forward.


So there are real limitations to how this policy can be executed?


Limitations and logistical questions, absolutely. It is not like as soon as this was signed, we are absolutely certain that every single migrant asylum seeker will immediately be returned to their home country. Now, often immigration policy changes, especially one that's this seismic, it's rare that it's just with the snap of the fingers implemented seamlessly. You're going to have logistical hurdles in the way this is carried out. One potential outcome is you essentially have some migrants getting deported within days, if not hours, and other migrants could be stuck in limbo, even in detention in the US.


I mean, thinking about this policy, isn't it possible that migrants, once they learn about it, would just adjust? I mean, they They understand, and I would assume the word spreads quickly, that asylum is effectively canceled. Wouldn't they, instead of running toward a border patrol agent, run away from that agent? Or is it possible that they would just stop coming altogether?


Stop coming altogether, I doubt it. The history shows that that tends to not be true. Just to take a step back in the '90s, early 2000s, most of the people crossing the border tended to be individual, single men, primarily from Mexico who were crossing the border to essentially get work. For that, you're not going to surrender to a border patrol agent because you're not asking for asylum. But then we saw this shift in the Obama administration. Let's think 2010s to around 2014. That's where you started to see actually the demographics change. No longer just individual men, but rather children, families as well. No longer just for Mexico, but actually Central American countries. Also not necessarily crossing the border just to get work temporarily just to cross back into Mexico. No, this was now families that were crossing or children that were crossing alone, crossing the border and asking for asylum. In order to do that, in order to seek that protection, you're surrendering to an immigration officer. You're going to a border patrol agent rather than avoiding them.


In other words, it's a completely different demographic people crossing now versus even in the early Obama administration. More families, more fleeing violence in their home countries than single men looking for work.


That's right. To bring this full circle, it is those families that are likely going to be subjected to the restrictions under this order because it is those families that are likely to be the ones that would seek asylum.


But if these people are stopped and potentially deported, this policy change might actually have a real effect on the number of asylum seekers in the US.


It could have effect on the number of asylum that are allowed to stay in the US. We know about this well. We see the images of overcrowding and border communities of busses packed with families that are going to New York City, to Denver. We've heard the criticism from leaders about the number of people that are going into their cities. The thinking with this executive action here is that maybe there are fewer families on some of those busses that are now going into these different American cities. Cities. And that also brings you to the other point of this action. There's also a question of optics. Look, this is about policy and how it's going to be implemented, but without a doubt, it's also about politics and how President Biden sends a message to voters.


We'll be right back.


My name is Sam Anderson. I'm a staff writer for the New York Times magazine. Over the years, I've interviewed actors, artists, athletes. Recently, I've been spending time with animal people. Wait, what happens if I put my fingers in that bottom cage? He will probably buy you. Scientists, ferret breeders, a heavy metal band that rescues baby puffins. You got one. Everyone has a story. When I was a kid, I had bats in the family bathroom. She didn't hear my mom backing into the driveway, and she got her pushed by my mom. Jessica, the rat, used to eat ice cream out of my mouth. Because thinking about animals seems to open up a little door. This is the baby. An escape hatch out of the human world. We got a little spirit. Is that your blood or it's blood? Thank you, Tom. They're coming really close to my head. From the New York Times, this is Animal. Listen to it wherever you podcasts.


Zolan, you said that Biden really has his eye on the election. One thing, of course, that you and I both know is that immigration is a key issue for voters. What does Biden expect to get out of this executive action in terms of voters?


Yeah, that's right. I mean, this has been an issue that has caused concern in the White House and anxiety in the White House, really, since President Biden came into office. I remember me and my colleagues, we reported that President Biden's own posters warned him early on that this could rise to be one of the real points in concern among voters in the United States. That has come to fruition. That has turned out to be true. This is now one of the top concerns, if not the top concerns for many voters across the United States. If you're the White House, you've basically been listening as Democratic mayors and governors and voters across the country have all expressed their concern about the rising numbers of crossings at the border for years now, and they see this executive action as the answer to those concerns.


Biden is trying to defuse this pretty dangerous political issue that he feels like he's at this point on the wrong side of. But of course, Zolan, as we talked about last time you were on the show, that is a very hard move to pull off. He's the guy who's been in charge for the past three years.


Yeah, that's right. There's so many political risks here. I mean, you essentially have a Democratic Party and a President who are trying to flip the script here, to change the narrative and go on the offensive against Republicans when it comes to the border and say, Hey, we're actually taking action here. But so far, we haven't seen Republicans relinquish any ground on this issue. Former President said today on Truth Social that Biden was just making this move for show because he knows there's a debate coming up in three weeks. Actually, just the day after this, Trump was already on Truth Social. He did a town hall in Arizona. Biden's order is not a border security plan. It's a concession to the fact that he has lost control over a border. He's totally lost control over the border. Critic criticizing this plan, saying that it was far too weak. On day one of my administration, I will be rescinding Crookajou's outrageous executive order. And once again, accusing him of being responsible for the Soren crossings we've had that we know is much more complicated than any one president's actions. And that's what makes this so challenging here, the politics of it.


You're essentially moving ahead with a policy action to try and neutralize somebody in former President Donald Trump and his Republican allies that have proven that no matter what the situation is at the border, this will be a line of attack for them when it comes to this White House.


So Trump is out there being Trump on the border, but it's It's weird because what he wants, fundamentally, is the border to be closed, and that's what Biden just did.


Yeah, that's right. I mean, that's what makes this ironic in a way. The action that President Biden just took largely mirrors an action that Trump took in 2018, even cites the same provision in immigration law to basically eliminate the ability for migrants that cross in between ports of entry to seek asylum. That is just another sign of how we are seeing the pendulum of immigration politics shift to the right and see President Biden, in a way, take a page out of Trump's playbook when it comes to the border.


Given that move, how are Democrats responding? I mean, I would imagine that they would not like this.


Yeah, let's start with progressives. We have to honor the humanitarian obligations that we have made. As soon as this As President Biden came out and announced that this was happening, you saw progressives such as Senator Alex Padilla comparing this action to that of an action taken by the Trump administration. I don't think it is the right direction. I'm disappointed by the executive order. You had other progressives saying that it was a matter of abandoning values long held by the United States and Americans. You also had other Democrats, including more moderate Democrats, who were saying this was long needed as well and were celebrating this issue. The asylum is a very important part of America's history, but now the system is being abused. Thought it was interesting that Representative Tom Swasi of New York, who largely won his special election with this same playbook. By challenging Republicans on immigration, the White House had him at President Biden's speech announcing this measure. I'm a very progressive person on immigration. I want to see a pathway to citizenship for dreamers and for TPS recipients, but we have to have order at the border. I guess it's complicated when it comes to the Democratic Party.


It shows just how divided the party is when it comes to this issue. You had some praising President Biden and saying that it was needed and necessary, and others who are saying that who are very ready to make the comparison to that of the Trump administration.


Do we think that this policy will hold up? I mean, it is an executive order, and those tend to be flimsy, as we know.


It's an excellent question. I mean, that's why the administration says they wanted to move forward with legislation rather than executive action when it comes to the border, because of exactly that point, that if you have Congress come together to push forward a solution here, that is less likely to be blocked in the courts than unilateral executive action by a president. I even asked the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, this directly recently at a roundtable. I was asking him about this potential executive action before President Biden issued it. He was saying the preference was to have a legislative solution because he and others in the White House fully expect that this will at least be challenged based off its legality. We're already seeing signs that that's going to be true. I mean, look, almost immediately after President Biden announced to this measure, the American Civil Liberties Union told us that they had every intention to challenge it in the courts, and they were saying in their statement that they said it was illegal when Trump did it in 2018, and it's illegal now. The ACLU is the entity that challenged Trump when he tried this in 2018.


That attempt ended up getting blocked in the courts, and the ACLU won that pursuit. It'll be interesting to see how it goes this time around.


But I guess in some ways, maybe it doesn't matter if this gets struck down by the courts. It doesn't matter if the policy is lasting. What matters is the optics before a very important presidential election in a couple of months time.


Without doubt. But it's not just about how this plays out on the ground. The administration essentially wants to shape perception about this issue when it comes to the actions that President Biden has taken when it comes to the Southwest border. They want voters to basically see, Hey, look, we actually have moved forward with enforcement minded policies at the Southwest border.


Even if those policies are short-lived.




So Zolen, stepping back for a second here, Biden is implementing this very tough border policy because he believes that's where most Americans are on this issue. He's talking to the right, which seems like in a way, an acknowledgement that the Democrats had been blown off course when it comes to immigration, and he's trying to course-correct.


Course-correct? I mean, I think that's right. This is really a pretty huge pendulum shift when we talk about immigration politics in the United States, particularly how the Democratic Party approaches immigration in the United States. Democrats in the past have pushed for border security measures, but it always was an exchange for some type of protection for the millions of undocumented immigrants already in the United States.


They wanted some carrots for those sticks.


That's right. They wanted some carrots for those sticks. We're not seeing the carrots here. It's really you're approaching just with the stick at the border, just with enforcement. It's also not the first time we've seen a president use his executive power on immigration, but just to show you how much we're in a different place here. I mean, think back to the Obama administration approaching a different re-election campaign, 2012. He used executive power not for border security, but to essentially provide protection for millions of young, undocumented immigrants in the United States. I'm, of course, referring to dreamers or the DACA program, as people may know. Right. I mean, just big picture here, we are seeing both parties increasingly coming to a consensus on this issue that enforcement will be prioritized. We're seeing public officials continue to try and compete with each other on who is going to be stronger on the border. Again, that is just a remarkable shift from how the United States approached migration and immigration in the past. And what this means for migrants approaching the Southwest border moving forward, where they will go, if not the United States, that's also going to be an open question as we move ahead, particularly as the politics of immigration increasingly centers on not allowing people in, but seemingly turning people away.


Zolan, thank you.


Thank you.


Over the weekend, the Times reported that Biden is considering protecting undocumented spouses of US citizens from deportation and allowing them to work in the country legally. It appeared to be a nod to progressives in immigration advocates as Biden tries to navigate the complex politics of immigration. We'll be right back. Here's what else you should know today. After far-right parties made dramatic gains in the European Parliament elections over the weekend, France's President, Emmanuel Macron, has dissolved his country's Lower House of Parliament. He called for new elections at the end of the month. Macron's move is a high-stakes gamble after the far-right party of Marine Le Pen, drew nearly a third of the vote in those EU elections, crushing Macron's own party. Macron is betting that new Snap elections could result in a power-sharing agreement with Le Pen's party, and that that in turn would help stall Le Pen's inexorable rise. Ahead of a crucial presidential election in 2027. And an activist and self-described documentary filmmaker surreptitiously recorded Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, saying he agreed with her assertion that Americans who believe in God have to keep fighting to, quote, return our country to a place of godliness.


The filmmaker was posing as a conservative Catholic and spoke to the justice at charity event. The recordings were posted on social media on Monday. Alito declined to comment. Today's episode was produced by Carlos Prieto, Eric Krupke, and Muj Zady. It was edited by M. J. Davis Lynn, contains original music by Dan Powell, and was engineered by Alyssa Moxley. Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Lansberg of WNDYRLE. That's it for The Daily. I'm Sabrina Tavernousi. See you tomorrow.