Without specific legislation like the Senate bill, they said, Mr. Biden’s attempts to shut down asylum consideration could quickly be mired in court challenges.
Mr. Biden could also try to use a different immigration provision, known as Title 42, that allowed Mr. Trump to declare a public health emergency at the border during the Covid pandemic. But Mr. Biden lifted Title 42 after the pandemic receded, and the legal pathway for using it again would be uncertain without an ongoing public health crisis.
During Mr. Trump’s tenure, his administration repeatedly sought to reduce the number of people granted asylum by reducing resources and changing the interpretation of existing asylum laws. But the Senate bill would create an entirely new review process for those seeking asylum, and would for the first time write tougher standards into immigration law.
Under the new system, asylum officers would be required to determine whether there was a “reasonable possibility” that migrants would face persecution in their home country, rather than just a “significant possibility.” Supporters of the bill in both parties said that change would make it far more likely that an asylum claim was rejected and the person expelled.
Immigration experts said that Mr. Biden probably could have taken some steps without the legislation. For example, the bill dramatically expands the number of migrants who are made to wear ankle bracelets while their immigration case is processed. Mr. Biden could have done that without the legislation.