Can the Biden administration change asylum rules at the border?

Can the Biden administration change asylum rules at the border?

Joe Biden’s administration is facing a narrow window of maneuver to respond to the immigration crisis at the border with Mexico. Over the past three years, millions of undocumented immigrants have arrived seeking asylum after fleeing their home countries.

However, most of them have been deported due to lack of a valid asylum case or a legal reason to remain in the United States. Despite this, more than 2 million cases have been referred to the Immigration Court, which has led to a backlog of more than 3 million files.

Against this backdrop, the Biden administration has been limited in its ability to address the immigration crisis. In early February, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a White House-backed bill that sought to allocate $20.3 billion to increase border security, hire more immigration and asylum agents, and create new immigration courts, among other measures.

However, this plan was cancelled by the Republicans, leaving the government without an immediate legislative solution.

With the immigration debate stalled in Congress, the Biden administration has been considering executive options to respond to the crisis and silence criticism from the Republican opposition. According to a report by NBC News, the administration is seeking to make it more difficult for immigrants to seek and obtain asylum at the southern border.

Possible changes to the regulations include modifying the initial screening procedure at the border, as well as implementing expedited deportation policies for those who do not meet asylum requirements.

However, modifying the asylum regulations is not a simple task. The current political asylum law was passed by Congress, so any changes to the regulations must follow a rigorous legal process. Although the regulations can be modified, as has been attempted in the past, Lilia Velasquez, associate professor at the University of California School of Immigration Law, warns that due process must be respected and that border inspectors or agents cannot be allowed to determine who qualifies or does not qualify for asylum, as they are not trained to do so.

In the face of speculation about possible changes to the asylum rules, the White House and the Senate Democratic leadership have remained silent, neither denying nor affirming plans for change. However, immigration experts point out that any modification to the asylum rules would face legal battles in the courts, as immigration rights and due process must be respected.

Current law states that anyone arriving at the border can apply for asylum, but the Biden administration has implemented changes in January 2023, stating that some applicants must have an authorized sponsor and use the CBP One application to apply for available legal benefits.

Those who enter illegally may be deported if they have no lawful cause to remain in the country, although this rule is subject to a federal District Court decision.

As for Biden’s possible options for addressing the immigration crisis at the border, immigration experts suggest that the government could follow the model implemented in March 2022.

This model consists of ordering cases, directing them to specific locations, and processing them within a reasonable amount of time. Although the government can change the asylum procedure, the legal requirement to qualify for asylum cannot be changed.

Biden administration has demonstrated an interest in expediting the asylum process and ensuring a faster response to eligible applicants. However, implementing changes to the regulations would require additional resources, such as hiring additional asylum officers, in order to do so effectively.

In summary, the Biden administration faces a significant challenge at the border with Mexico due to the immigration crisis. While executive options have been considered to respond to the situation, any modifications to the asylum regulations would face legal challenges and require additional resources.

The administration seeks to address the crisis quickly and efficiently, but must respect immigration rights and due process at all times.