Venezuelan family traveled for 3 months, only to be denied asylum claim at the border President Joe Biden’s executive actions that temporarily halts most asylum claims at the southern border is leaving many immigrant families in limbo, hoping they’ll be eligible to reunite with their loved ones.

How Biden's asylum policy is affecting one Venezuelan family

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AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:

President Biden is now restricting most asylum claims at the southern border. His executive actions call for those restrictions when unauthorized crossings exceed an average of 2,500 migrants for seven consecutive days. That means a migrant who might otherwise apply for asylum - for example, because they fear for their lives in their home country have a choice - wait for the numbers to go down and restrictions to be lifted or attempt to enter the U.S. illegally and risk deportation. That's the situation member station WKAR's Michelle Jokisch Polo found at the border.

MICHELLE JOKISCH POLO, BYLINE: Diana, her two 5 and 8-year-old children, her father and her teenage brother, David, arrived at Ciudad Juarez on Tuesday. But their eyes were on El Paso, Texas, just across from the Rio Grande border, where they were planning to petition asylum. The family asked NPR to not use their last names because they feared speaking out could jeopardize their claim. They were tired after completing a three-month journey from their native Venezuela. Then they got the news. People crossing the border illegally are not allowed to petition for asylum, but the measures allow those with an appointment through the government's mobile app to be considered for asylum.

DIANA: (Speaking Spanish).

DAVID: (Speaking Spanish).

JOKISCH POLO: "It cost us a lot to get here," says Diana. Her brother, David, says they were really excited at first when they heard that the border was nearby. But when they got there, they were told that it was closed. He says they were disappointed. As soon as they got off the bus in Juarez, in 90-degree weather, the family walked straight to the border to turn themselves in and petition for asylum. Instead of going through a point of entry, they opted to cross the Rio Grande by foot. They didn't use the CBP One app to make an appointment. Border Patrol agents immediately pushed them back into Mexico. That's not what they were expecting. False information on TikTok and other messaging platforms give some people the impression that all immigrants need to do is show up at the border, and they're allowed in with a pending court date.

DIANA: (Speaking Spanish).

JOKISCH POLO: "Neither by bus, taxi or train, they won't let us in," Diana says, Defeated, hungry and tired, the family set out to find shelter. There was no celebration for her 29th birthday, but they found respite at a city shelter next to an international bridge. There the family got food, water and a place to sleep. People from other countries were staying at the shelter as well with similar hopes and dreams.

DIANA: (Speaking Spanish).

JOKISCH POLO: Diana says right now, there's a large group of people staying at the shelter, with many coming from Ecuador, Colombia and El Salvador. The 2,200-mile journey for this family had a destination - Florida. That's where Diana's husband is. Unable to find a job in Venezuela, he petitioned asylum nearly nine months ago through the same border area, but before the new restrictions were in place.

For NPR News, I'm Michelle Jokisch Polo in El Paso.

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