WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Department of Homeland Security has posted a new interim final rule on asylum ahead of publication in the Federal Register next week.
The rule would significantly change the asylum process at the U.S.-Mexico border. For example, it would allow U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) asylum officers to adjudicate the asylum applications of some recent border-crossers, alleviating the immigration court case backlog and lessening the wait time for families to have their cases heard. Allowing USCIS to handle more of the asylum process is a change the National Immigration Forum has called for repeatedly to help address increases in migration at our southern border and lessen the burden on our overwhelmed immigration courts.
The final rule includes several changes from the proposed rule the administration posted last summer — changes that address some, but not all, due process concerns the rule raises. For example, it allows asylum seekers more room to request reconsideration and to provide additional evidence for their cases. However, expedited court dates likely will make it difficult for asylum seekers to access legal representation.
The rule will go into effect 60 days from its publication in the federal register, scheduled for Tuesday.
“This rule is an important step towards a more orderly and humane immigration process at the border,” said Ali Noorani, President and CEO of the National Immigration Forum. “As the administration implements the rule later this spring, we hope it also takes steps to ensure that asylum seekers receive due process and access to counsel. Effective implementation of the rule, combined with improved legal immigration processes, can relieve pressures at our borders.”