The Biden administration has introduced the final version of its plan to make the process of seeking asylum in this country far more efficient than it is now. It’s considered to be one of the biggest changes to that asylum process in at least 25 years.
Currently, those seeking asylum must go before an immigration judge to present their case. This has created a significant backlog, with those escaping persecution, violence and human rights violations in their home country having to wait an average of five years for a decision.
Cases will be decided by asylum officers
Under the new rule, asylum officers will handle the cases and make the decisions instead. The goal, which will involve hiring and training hundreds more asylum officers, is to cut the process down to just six months. Those migrants who tell a border patrol officer that they have a “credible fear” of returning to their country will also have their cases heard by an asylum officer instead of an immigration judge
The new asylum rule, which emerged from President Biden’s promise to “restore humanity” to the process, is not without its critics on both sides of the immigration issue. Some say it’s going to attract more people to our borders, where border patrol officers are already reportedly dealing with more than 13,000 undocumented people each day.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said, “Through this rule, we are building a more functional and sensible asylum system to ensure that individuals who are eligible will receive protection more swiftly, while those who are not eligible will be rapidly removed.”
Will the new system interfere with due process?
Immigrant rights advocates have expressed concern that the new system will deny people due process. One official with Human Rights First said, “Rushing asylum seekers through adjudications without sufficient time to secure legal representation, gather evidence or prepare their cases is inefficient and counterproductive.”
The change will by no means be felt quickly. It won’t even take effect until 60 days after it’s published in the Federal Register. As noted, hundreds more asylum officers must be brought on board. In the meantime, if you have a loved one who is seeking asylum in the U.S., it’s wise to ensure that they have legal guidance as they deal with the system as it evolves.