Non-Judges Approving Asylum Requests Means Hasty Judgments, GOP Warns

Migrants, most of them asylum seekers sent back to Mexico from the U.S. under the "Remain in Mexico" program officially named Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), occupy a makeshift encampment in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, October 28, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott - RC161D665410

Republicans fear Biden’s reforms to asylum-seeker procedures at the southern border could speed up migrant entries into the U.S.

USCIS asylum agents began hearing and assessing asylum petitions of migrants in Texas on Tuesday. The pilot scheme will only help a few hundred asylum-seekers per month.

Asylum Cases

The approach departs from the decades-old practice of federal immigration judges deciding asylum cases. Illegal immigrants can allege persecution in their home nation before being deported.

Cris Ramon, a Chicago immigration researcher, says Republicans worry asylum officers are more likely to accept these migrants than other government workers.

Senator James Lankford (R-OK) is concerned about the process.

Asylum-seekers whose claims are denied by an officer are deported immediately. However, the system permits them to appeal, resulting in their release into the U.S. during the years-long process.

The executive department is trying to do something, but it isn’t working. Lankford said last week the law must be changed.

Last week, congressional Republicans failed to prevent the rule.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) said the new method “exacerbates” the unstable southern border since more asylum-seekers will travel to the U.S.

“Our borders are open, you won’t be held, and a judge won’t hear your asylum petition,” Johnson stated.

“I oppose the Biden administration’s attempt to change asylum laws by fiat. Congress must make the proposed adjustments.”

The Biden presidency defended the move as a step toward accelerating the asylum procedure and reducing the 1.8 million case bottleneck before 500 immigration courts nationwide.

“Those who apply for benefits will obtain protection more quickly, and those who aren’t will be expeditiously removed,” DHS said on May 26.

Speeding Up The Process

DHS revealed the rule change in March, two months before May 31.

The move was meant to take effect after Title 42, an epidemic public health policy, ended, allowing border officials to turn away asylum-seekers and illegal immigrants.

A federal judge blocked Title 42 from being overturned in May.

In turn, the Biden presidency has reverted to accelerated removal. If someone seeks asylum during accelerated removal, an officer will conduct a “credible fear” interview.

Normally, Border Patrol or CBP officers at land ports of entry check asylum-seekers. Migrants in two Texas detention centers can plan to go to Boston, Los Angeles, Florida, New York, Newark, or San Francisco if released.

From here, they will be the only participants in the pilot program.

If an asylum-seeker satisfies the initial screening, a decision will be made in 21 to 45 days. Ramon attacked the Biden administration for not revealing how it will handle those in this different docket, including if they will be detained or released and monitored electronically.

“The administration hasn’t stated what happens to individuals,” Ramon added. Those who aren’t accepted will be deported.