In a tweet, Menendez stated, “If @POTUS continues down the path of banning asylum for some migrants fleeing for their lives and restarting family detention, he will become the Asylum Denier in Chief.”

Menendez’s tweet comes in response to the recent announcement from the US Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice that could significantly limit asylum to the US. The proposal aims to turn away people who show up to apply for asylum without first using “new and existing lawful processes” to enter the country. Additionally, the government wants migrants to submit an online asylum petition whose merits will be considered before they are allowed to enter the US, and to seek asylum in other countries before applying for it in the US.

The proposed plan has raised concerns among advocates like Adrian Dominican Sister Attracta Kelly, a longtime immigration attorney who represents asylum-seekers. Sister Kelly points out the safety concerns for migrants who will not be allowed to seek refuge in the US and emphasizes that it is unlikely for them to find safety in Mexico or other countries in Central America.

Senator Menendez has been a vocal critic of the Biden administration’s immigration policies, particularly on its handling of the southern border crisis. He has called on the administration to prioritize providing a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants and to address the root causes of migration.

The proposal was published in the Federal Register on February 23, and the public has until March 27 to submit comments online.

It remains to be seen how the Biden administration will respond to these criticisms and whether any changes will be made to the proposed plan.

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