Saturday, April 20, 2024

Biden administration proposes overhaul of asylum system to speed up claim approval

The department of Homeland Security and Justice announced that the Biden administration has proposed a federal regulation that would overhaul the asylum system to settle claims at a faster pace and help alleviate the immigration court backlog.

The proposed rule would give asylum officers more authority by allowing them to hear and decide applications, cases that are usually assigned to immigration judges, when migrants present at the U.S. southern border. It doesn’t apply to unaccompanied children and people already living in the U.S.

The administration has been battling with an overwhelming number of arrivals at the U.S- Mexico border. In July, U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered 212,672 people, which 95,788 of those were deported.

“These proposed changes will significantly improve DHS’s and DOJ’s ability to more promptly and efficiently consider the asylum claims of individuals encountered at or near the border, while ensuring fundamental fairness. Individuals who are eligible will receive relief more swiftly, while those who are not eligible will be expeditiously removed,” said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in a statement.

Border authorities have been relying on a public health rule, known as, Title 42, to turn back migrants arrested at the border.  People who aren’t subject to the authority and are seeking asylum are placed into a process where they’re screened by asylum officers. If they pass the credible fear screening, their case progresses through the immigration court system.

The U.S. immigration court system has been backed up by more than 1 million pending cases, which can take years to complete. The proposed rule could alleviate the backlog by allowing asylum officers to adjudicate claims. If a case is denied, the person can request review by an immigration judge under a streamlined process.

In the rule, the DHS and DOJ acknowledge the dated process currently in place and its shortcomings in addressing the current flow of migrants. “It’s no longer fit for its intended purpose. It does not adequately address the need to adjudicate in a timely manner the rapidly increasing number of asylum claims raised by individuals arriving in the United States,” says the rule.