Biden Administration Launches Fast-Track Asylum Program to Expedite Immigration Cases

The Biden administration announced a new initiative on Thursday to expedite the asylum process for certain migrants who enter the U.S. illegally via the Mexico border. According to report by CBC

Under this plan, adult migrants released by federal border officials will be eligible for a program aimed at significantly reducing the time it takes for immigration judges to decide their asylum cases.

This joint effort between the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department, which oversees immigration courts, seeks to both quickly grant asylum to legitimate applicants and promptly reject weak claims.

Senior U.S. officials highlighted that the current prolonged asylum process, which often takes years, acts as a “pull factor” for economic migrants who do not qualify for humanitarian protection but exploit the system to work in the U.S.

The immigration court backlog has surged in recent years, with fewer than 800 judges handling over 3.5 million pending cases, leading to wait times exceeding four years. told by yahoo

The new program targets single adult migrants planning to live in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York City. It instructs immigration judges to deliver decisions within 180 days, drastically shortening the process.

This approach, similar to past “rocket docket” programs initiated since the Obama administration, is designed to deter illegal immigration. However, advocates argue that these fast-track dockets compromise migrants’ due process by limiting their ability to secure legal representation.

Details on the program’s scope remain unclear, as officials did not provide estimates on the number of migrants affected. Ten judges have been assigned to the initiative, according to an official during a press call.

This move is the latest in a series of measures by the Biden administration to address illegal border crossings, which hit record levels last year. Recently, the administration proposed a rule to expedite the rejection and deportation of asylum-seekers deemed public safety or national security threats.

Another regulation presumes ineligibility for asylum for migrants who illegally enter the U.S. without seeking refuge in another country first while expanding legal entry avenues for some migrants.

President Biden has increasingly adopted more restrictive border policies, considering further measures under presidential authority that would likely face legal challenges. Administration officials argue these actions are necessary due to the failure of a bipartisan border security agreement earlier this year.

This proposed deal would have tightened asylum restrictions and increased deportations without legalizing unauthorized immigrants but was rejected by most Republicans, including former President Donald Trump.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas emphasized that while this administrative step is not a substitute for comprehensive immigration reform, the administration will continue to enforce the law and discourage irregular migration in the absence of congressional action.

The Biden administration has faced unprecedented migration levels along the southern border, with over two million migrant apprehensions each of the past two years.

However, recent months have seen a decline in crossings, with nearly 129,000 apprehensions last month, down from 137,000 in March. U.S. officials attribute this decrease to increased deportations and Mexico’s immigration crackdown.