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Analysis: Biden’s New Border Plan Undercuts Campaign Vow to Restore Asylum Access

WASHINGTON, Jan 6 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden’s move this week to block migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border aims to reduce record crossings and shield him from Republican criticism but is a turn away from his campaign promise to restore access to asylum.

Initial backlash to Biden’s policy shift also signals it could be challenged in court, from both those who favor restricting immigration and advocates for asylum seekers.

The humanitarian entry program for Cubans, Haitians and Nicaraguans builds on a Biden program launched in October that blocked Venezuelans at the border but allowed up to 24,000 to apply to enter the United States by air.

About 11,500 Venezuelans entered under the program that started in October, according to the Mexican government, while the number of Venezuelans caught at the U.S.-Mexico border plummeted.

Savitri Arvey, senior policy adviser at advocacy group Women’s Refugee Commission, said the Venezuela program favored more affluent migrants with U.S. connections and passports, and “didn’t address the needs of the most vulnerable people.”

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