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Biden admin to flood cities in California, N.Y., other states with migrants under new measure for asylum seekers

As California and Texas continue to cope with the influx of illegal immigrants at the southern border, the issue of illegal immigration has emerged as the most important topic among presumptive presidential candidates Donald Trump and Joe Biden. Pressed by the public and the growing number of Americans concerned about the issue, the Biden administration is lately making last-ditch efforts to at least show a commitment to solving the problem. With less than six months until the November general election, it seems nearly impossible that the federal government could change the public’s opinion on the border security issue.

A recent measure announced

Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of Homeland Security at DHS, presented a new measure last week that aims to quickly identify immigrants with criminal backgrounds. The proposed changes to the asylum system would allow immigration officials to reject asylum seekers who have a criminal record that poses a threat to national security or public safety and quickly remove them. During the initial screening stages, these changes will allow asylum officers to issue a denial within days if they find evidence of a migrant’s ineligibility to claim asylum due to ties to terrorism, a threat to national security, or a criminal background.

Safety concerns

Federal border officials, in most cases, let immigrants go before completing all security checks due to the large number of immigrants arriving in almost all sectors along the southern border. This has prompted a nationwide debate questioning the safety of millions of Americans, especially those living in states and areas with a high number of migrants. The recently proposed measure aims to reduce the number of migrants who step on American soil.

New controversial measure to affect many states

The Biden administration is hastening the asylum process for migrants entering the US illegally, targeting five major cities. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Thursday that a new Recent Arrivals (RA) Docket will quickly bring single adults before immigration judges in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City. These asylum claims must be decided within 180 days, although extensions may be granted for migrants to secure legal representation.

The Biden admin is hastening the asylum process for migrants entering illegally, to quickly bring single adults before immigration judges
President Joe Biden visiting the Texas border. Courtesy of POTUS X official account

Speeding-up the process

Over 3 million asylum cases were pending in the US as of December, with many migrants waiting years for resolution. In May last year, migrants crossing from Mexico into Texas received paperwork setting court dates in Chicago as far out as 2032. Immigration has become a crucial issue for US voters ahead of the 2024 election, with many polls indicating it as a weak spot for Biden, 81, in his expected contest with former President Donald Trump, 77.

“Today, we are instituting with the Department of Justice a process to accelerate asylum proceedings so that individuals who do not qualify for relief can be removed more quickly and those who do qualify can achieve protection sooner,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas on Thursday.

The Biden admin is hastening the asylum process for migrants entering illegally, to quickly bring single adults before immigration judges
Airport, credit: Unsplash

The border bill unlikely to pass anytime soon

House Republicans, who impeached Mayorkas in February, have persistently urged Biden to reinstate Trump-era policies like Remain in Mexico, which required asylum seekers to wait for their court dates in Mexico. This week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) declared that the Senate would revisit the legislation, only to be swiftly criticized by the leading Republican negotiator, Sen. James Lankford. Lankford dismissed Schumer’s move as a “political stunt.”

“All the American people see it, everybody sees this is political, but everyone in the country also says ‘Why don’t you guys and ladies fix this instead? Why don’t you actually resolve it?’” Sen. James Lankford said, adding that Democrats and Republicans should return to the negotiating table.

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