US Announces New Rule To Empower Immigration Officials To Reject More Migrants Earlier In Asylum Process

New regulation aimed at allowing immigration officials to quickly identify and deport migrants who are ineligible for US asylum earlier in the process was announced by the Biden administration on Thursday.

Friday, May 10th 2024, 9:43 am

By: News 9, CBS News


The Biden administration announced a new regulation Thursday aimed at allowing immigration officials to more quickly identify and deport migrants who are ineligible for U.S. asylum earlier in the process.

The regulation by the Department of Homeland Security would apply to migrants who ask for asylum after crossing the US-Mexico border illegally. CBS News reported the administration's plans earlier this week. At this point, as a proposed regulation, it must go through a public comment period before taking effect.

It would instruct government asylum officers to apply certain barriers to asylum that are already part of U.S. law during so-called credible fear interviews, the first step in the years-long asylum process. Those who pass these interviews are allowed to seek asylum before an immigration judge, while those who fail them can be deported expeditiously.

On a call with reporters, a senior homeland security official said this would affect migrants who pose "significant threats" to public safety and national security, such as suspected terrorists. These are migrants "we are very concerned about," the official said, but the size of the population is "limited."

Migrants barred under U.S. law from asylum include those who may pose a danger to public safety or national security. The rule would allow officials to reject and deport migrants in these categories soon after they cross the border.

Separately, DHS also issued new guidance Thursday to asylum officers instructing them to disqualify migrants from asylum earlier on in the immigration process if they are able to relocate to other parts of their home country where they may be safe.

The new regulation, which is relatively narrow in scope, is one of several actions the Biden administration has been considering to restrict access to the U.S. asylum system amid a spike in applications in recent years, mostly driven by migrants crossing the southern border illegally.

While the newly announced regulation will not affect massive numbers of migrants, it still reinforces a policy shift by Mr. Biden, who earlier in his presidency promised to "restore" the U.S. asylum system.

But after record levels of migrant apprehensions along the southern border, including over 2 million in each of the past two years, and an accompanying political backlash, Mr. Biden's administration has enacted and floated more restrictive asylum rules.

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