Biden Administration Plans New Asylum Rules to Streamline Border Processing

The Biden administration is poised to implement additional adjustments to the nation’s asylum system, aiming to expedite processing and potential removal of migrants arriving at the southern border, as President Joe Biden considers broader executive actions later this year.

Four individuals familiar with the proposal say a change that would prioritize certain migrants arriving at the border for processing within the asylum system rather than placing them at the end of the queue is under consideration. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an administration policy prior to its finalization.

The announcement, anticipated from the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department, could be made as early as Thursday, though there is a possibility of delay, according to these sources. The administration’s objective with this shift is to swiftly process recent arrivals, aiming for a timeline of within six months, in contrast to the current backlog that often spans several years.

These revised procedures would apply to individuals crossing between ports of entry and surrendering to immigration authorities.

The Biden administration is adopting increasingly restrictive measures to dissuade individuals from traveling to the U.S.-Mexico border. Upon arrival, especially for families, migrants are typically released into the country to await asylum court dates, a process that can extend over several years. Streamlining the processing of newly arrived migrants could act as a deterrent to others contemplating the journey.

The nation’s immigration court currently handles a record 3 million cases, with judges handling an average caseload of 5,000 each. The proposed changes are unlikely to significantly alleviate this workload, given that there are approximately 600 judges nationwide.

An earlier bipartisan border agreement endorsed by Biden and drafted by three senators proposed funding for 100 new immigration judges and support staff. However, the legislation did not progress after former President Donald Trump, the likely GOP presidential nominee, urged fellow Republicans to reject the deal.