▶ Watch Video: Biden administration finalizes policy to limit asylum ahead of Title 42’s expiration

El Paso, Texas — A new Biden administration policy will require migrant families seeking asylum to undergo home curfews and GPS tracking while officials determine whether they should be allowed to stay in the country or be deported, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Wednesday.

The program, known as the Family Expedited Removal Management process, will require some migrant adults who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border unlawfully with minor children to wear GPS ankle monitors and to comply with a curfew. The initiative will apply to migrant families who claim fear of returning to their home countries after being placed in a fast-track deportation process known as expedited removal.

Officials said the policy is designed to allow ICE to monitor migrant families and to locate them if asylum officers find that they are not eligible for U.S. protection, without having to hold them in detention centers, a controversial practice the Biden administration has declined to revive. 

Immigrants seeking asylum in the U.S. await processing by Border Patrol after crossing into Arizona from Mexico on May 10, 2023, in Yuma, Arizona. 

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If families fail their interviews with U.S. asylum officers, ICE would move to deport them within 30 days of their placement in expedited removal proceedings, officials said Wednesday. Those deported under expedited removal receive a five-year banishment and could face criminal prosecution if they attempt to re-enter the U.S.

“Families should not listen to the lies of smugglers,” top ICE official Corey Price said in a statement. “Like single adults, noncitizens traveling with their children who do not have a lawful basis to remain in the United States will be quickly removed and barred from reentry for at least five years.” 

Initially, the initiative announced Wednesday will apply to migrant families who are heading to areas close to Baltimore, Chicago, Newark and Washington, an ICE official told CBS News.

The program is part of a larger Biden administration effort to deter migrants from crossing into the U.S. legally as pandemic-era restrictions on migration, known as Title 42, are discontinued this week.

While the Biden administration’s strategy to deter illegal crossings includes a significant expansion of opportunities for migrants to enter the country with legal permission, including through a phone app, it is also expected to heavily rely on increased deportations and a sweeping restriction on asylum.

The restriction, published on Wednesday, will disqualify migrants who entered the country without permission from asylum if they did not first ask for protection in a third country, like Mexico, on their way to the U.S. southern border. The policy, which resembles a Trump-era rule, is expected to be challenged in court by migrant advocates.

Migrants subjected to the regulation will face deportation and banishment from the U.S. under the expedited removal process, unless they pass interviews with U.S. asylum officers, who have been instructed to use a higher, more-difficult threshold when reviewing these cases.

Officials are planning to keep adult asylum-seekers in Border Patrol facilities while asylum officers determine virtually whether they should be deported under the regulation, or allowed to request asylum in front of a judge.

But the administration can’t do the same for families with children because of legal limits on the detention of minors, Democrats’ widespread rejection of family detention and insufficient bed space at the two Texas detention facilities that previously held parents and children in ICE custody. 

The curfew and monitoring program announced on Wednesday is, in many ways, an effort to deter migrant families from crossing the southern border unlawfully without reinstating family detention, which the Biden administration phased out in 2021. 

Administration officials earlier this year weighed the possibility of detaining migrant families but the proposal was shelved amid strong opposition from some Biden appointees, Democratic lawmakers and advocates, who cited studies showing the psychological trauma detention can inflict on children.