New immigration rule in the United States will change the asylum system

(CNN) –– The Biden administration will soon publish a federal regulation that reforms the US asylum system to resolve claims faster and help ease the backlog of cases pending in immigration courts.

The new rule gives asylum officers more authority by allowing them to hear and decide on asylum applications — which are generally assigned to immigration judges — when immigrants arrive at the southern US border. for migrants subject to expedited removal. However, unaccompanied minors are exempt from the measure.

How will the US asylum system change?

Government officials have hinted at the change in the asylum application process for months. And the move comes as the administration faces mounting pressure from Democratic lawmakers and immigrant advocates to overhaul the US system. It also comes amid concerns about a possible surge of immigrants.

By shifting the adjudication of applications — from immigration judges to asylum officers — it is hoped that cases can be completed and decided in months, not years. There are at least 1.7 million cases pending in immigration courts, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, which tracks immigration court data.

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“This will help reduce the burden on our immigration courts, protect the rights of those fleeing persecution and violence, and allow immigration judges to issue deportation orders when appropriate,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said. it’s a statement.

Title 42 Dependency

Border authorities have relied on a public health order, known as Title 42, to deport migrants arrested at the US-Mexico border, with few exceptions.

People who are not subject to this policy and seek asylum then face an assessment with asylum officials. If they pass the credible fear screening, their cases proceed through the immigration court system.

The new regulation could ease the case backlog by allowing asylum officers to adjudicate applications, rather than immigration judges who already have thousands of cases. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)which belongs to the Department of Homeland Security, oversees asylum processes.

“It is an effort to make the asylum process more efficient, without compromising the due process that applicants have,” National Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told reporters last week. In that sense, he added that the implementation will be done gradually. Precisely, given the resource limitations.

A migrant from Haiti near the border bridge at the San Ysidro port of entry in Tijuana, Mexico, on Tuesday, March 22, 2022. (Credit: Cesar Rodriguez/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The USCIS portion of the process, which includes determining credible fear and a decision on the asylum application, is still expected to take up to 90 days. The asylum seeker may be detained or free depending on individual circumstances, officials told reporters on Wednesday.

If a case is denied, the person can request review by an immigration judge under a simplified process. The immigration judge is expected to issue a decision approximately 90 days after the proceedings begin. Although postponements can also be requested, the officials added.


The government presented the regulation proposal last August and received more than 5,000 public comments. The final rule, which officials anticipated Wednesday, will be published in the Federal Register in the “coming days.” And it will probably go into effect in the summer.

The administration is still evaluating who the rule will apply to and where it will be implemented, officials said. And they insisted again that the implementation will start little by little. One of the challenges officers are likely to face is a lack of resources, due to the limited capacity of USCIS.

Officials told reporters they are beefing up staff to implement the rule when it goes into effect. But they declined to say how many additional resources will be required.

“Based on case volumes and capacity for both existing workload and new work resulting from this rule, USCIS has increased and plans to further increase staffing and infrastructure to handle the full volume of work. contemplated under the rule,” a USCIS official said.

Addressing Backlogs in the U.S. Asylum System

The agency had previously estimated that it needed to hire about 800 new employees, in addition to spending about $180 million to implement the process in about 75,000 cases a year, according to the text of the proposed regulation.

The announcement is the latest effort to overcome the backlog of immigration cases. Last year, the Biden administration unveiled plans aimed at speeding up court cases for newly arrived immigrant families seeking asylum in certain cities. President Joe Biden cited that effort in his State of the Union address earlier this month.

“We are appointing dedicated immigration judges in significantly larger numbers so that families fleeing persecution and violence can get their cases heard faster,” Biden said.

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