WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) have proposed a new rule that would significantly change the asylum process at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The proposed changes 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 Forum has called for repeatedly to help address increases in migration at our southern border and lessen the burden on our overwhelmed immigration courts.
However, under the current proposal, the new procedure would only apply to asylum-seekers placed in expedited removal proceedings, which have in the past raised concerns around due process and whether individuals have been given adequate preparation time before making their case.
The proposal now enters a 60-day public comment period, giving advocates and others an opportunity to provide feedback on the rule.
“Our asylum system needs improvement. This rule would be a positive step toward establishing a more efficient and humane system for migrants arriving at our borders,” said Ali Noorani, President and CEO of the National Immigration Forum. “As it moves to make much-needed changes to the asylum process, the administration should continue working with advocates and other stakeholders to ensure a fully functional, fair, and secure asylum system for all those seeking protection.”