WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The Biden administration is proposing a rule change to overhaul how the entire asylum process works as the number of immigrants arriving at the southern U.S. border reaches a 20-year high.
Amnesty International says the current asylum process for migrants at the border isn’t working.
“I have an individual who I am friends with who has been in that backlog now for nearly six years,” said Amy Fischer with Amnesty International.
The Biden administration said immigration courts have an enormous backlog and years-long delays. To reduce that backlog and streamline the process, the White House is proposing an overhaul of the system that would allow asylum officers to decide asylum cases instead of referring them to the immigration courts.
“The change is a really welcome change,” said Fischer. “The asylum is a life-saving process.”
But Lora Reis with the Heritage Foundation said the proposed changes could backfire.
“It would not go before an immigration judge and therefore there would be no ICE attorney, there would be no cross-examination,” Reis said. “It will encourage more fraudulent filings for asylum and that’s just going to lead to more casework for USCIS asylum officers.”
The new rules would apply to families and single adults and, if approved, wouldn’t take effect for months.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration is dealing with recent court rulings that compel the administration to re-implement a Trump-era policy to force asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for claims to be processed. The Biden administration could appeal that case in the Supreme Court.