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A group of Venezuelan immigrants is taken into U.S. Border Patrol custody in Del Rio, Texas. They had crossed the Rio Grande minutes earlier from Mexico to seek political asylum in the United States. Photo: John Moore via Getty Images

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi on Thursday urged the U.S. to "swiftly" lift COVID-related asylum restrictions at the border.

Why it matters: The order, enacted by former President Trump last March, effectively ended asylum at the southern border. The American Civil Liberties Union and other migrant advocacy groups have called on Biden to roll back the policy.

What he's saying: "The Title 42 order has resulted in the expulsions of hundreds of thousands of people to Mexico or their countries of origin, denying their access to asylum procedures," Grandi said in a statement.

  • The UN Refugee Agency has "maintained since the start of the pandemic that protecting public health and protecting access to asylum, a fundamental human right, are fully compatible."
  • "Guaranteed access to safe territory and the prohibition of pushbacks of asylum-seekers are core precepts of the 1951 Refugee Convention and refugee law, which governments are required to uphold to protect the rights and lives of refugees," he said, noting that the expulsions have led to "serious humanitarian consequences" in northern Mexico.

The big picture: Challenges have emerged at the U.S.-Mexico border in Biden's first 100 days in office. Though the administration is starting to reunite families and open more temporary shelters, he continues to face backlash for retaining Title 42.

Go deeper

Linh Ta, author of Des Moines
Aug 27, 2021 - Axios Des Moines

Family of five among first Afghan refugees to arrive in Des Moines

Refugees board a U.S. aircraft heading to Germany, after being evacuated from Kabul. Photo: Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP via Getty Images

An Afghan refugee family that arrived in Des Moines on Sunday is among the first to be welcomed here as thousands flee increasingly treacherous conditions after the Taliban seized power.

Who they are: A mom and dad, as well as their four-year-old son and twin one-year-old boys, said Leng Vong Reiff, a local volunteer that helps refugees.

You can help by making a monetary donation via Reiff's Venmo.

  • Or donate to USCRI's work helping immigrants and refugees in Iowa.

A full circle: Reiff, who's Tai Dam, came to the U.S. as a refugee from Laos in the 1970s after the Vietnam War.

  • She said she's felt compelled to help other refugees after Iowans opened their homes decades ago.

Scoop: Garland defends DOJ's handling of Jan. 6 probe

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Attorney General Merrick Garland will tell the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday that federal prosecutors "are doing exactly what they are expected to do" in seeking accountability for the "intolerable assault" on the Capitol on Jan. 6, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Allies of former President Trump, including Republican congressmen, have criticized the department's treatment rioters charged with crimes, and sought to recast the insurrection as a righteous protest. Garland's testimony with be his first appearance before the panel.

Updated 47 mins ago - World

Police charge man with murder of British MP David Amess

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Police said Thursday that Ali Harbi Ali, a 25-year-old British man, has been charged with the murder of David Amess, a Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K.

The big picture: Last week, the Metropolitan Police declared the fatal stabbing a terrorist incident, saying that they had found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."