Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX.), a centrist House Democrat, has thrown his support behind President Joe Biden’s controversial asylum policy amid criticism of the policy by immigrant advocates.
Cuellar, the longest-tenured member of a Texas border town, insisted that there wasn’t a comparison between Biden’s asylum policies and those of former President Donald Trump.
Speaking on the issue on NPR’s “All Things Considered” on Sunday (February 26), Cuellar acknowledged that immigration groups were describing Biden’s asylum policy as a “Trump-like rule,” insisting that the former President “wanted to ban people from coming in.”
Cuellar defended Biden’s plan as “reasonable” despite the policy imposing severe restrictions on who would be allowed to seek asylum.
The Texas Democrat highlighted that fact, “People can still ask for asylum to come in.”
However, Biden’s policy means many migrants are presumed ineligible for asylum if they first enter another country before seeking asylum there.
Policies like that make it increasingly difficult for migrants to seek asylum in the U.S.
The Biden administration has defended the policy’s human rights bona fides, claiming it isn’t rehashing Trump’s transit ban — which immigration advocates believe it is.
But Cuellar believes that those comments come from those unfamiliar with life at the border, explaining that it’s “easy” for those “1,500 miles away” to say, “Oh, yeah, let everybody in.”
The Texas Democrat explained that the perspective was different for those facing the situation daily, like a mayor, country judge, border resident, or land owner.
However, the Democrats acknowledged that the asylum activists were important to the Democrat base.