In a recently published statement, the Biden administration has finally announced the final publishment of a rule that is supposed to streamline the current asylum process. This is a recent effort enforced as a result of years of people fleeing persecution experiencing a backlog in their asylum applications. Such backlog has left these individuals in a waiting period that can be up to 5 years long or more.
The current Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, released a statement claiming that this rule has been an action taken as a result of the need for years of repair to the system handling asylum claims. This new rule has been made to, simply put by the DHS (Department of Homeland Security), “build a more functional and sensible asylum system to ensure that individuals who are eligible will receive protection more swiftly, while those who are not eligible will be rapidly removed” (thehill.com). Additionally, they also stated that “we will process claims for asylum or other humanitarian protection in a timely and efficient manner while ensuring due process.”
A bit about how this new rule will be applied to the asylum application process is that it will give the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials the authority to first weigh the merits to the asylum applicants stating they cannot return to their home country in fear of the state of their livelihood if they do. USCIS officials will look at those applying for asylum as a result of not being able to return home as a result of torture or persecution (a task that is currently assigned to some 500 immigration judges housed within the Department of Justice).
Under this new system of rule, asylum seekers could be granted status at a much faster rate as a result of USCIS officers being granted the permission and ability to grant status (instead of funneling applicants into the current pool of 1.7 million immigration court cases that are in backlog and could take up to 4 years or more to settle). Additionally, under this new rule, any migrants who are denied could appeal the decision within the immigration court system. This is an office within the Department of Justice known as the Executive Office for Immigration Review. Immigration court judges would be expected to rule on the matter within 90 days, exponentially speeding up the process compared to the current 4 or more years.
The move to streamline asylum cases is part of the Biden administration's effort to be seen as rebuilding the current immigration system that was decimated by the previous administration's restrictionist policies. Alejandro Mayorkas has hinted that the implementation of the asylum rule could help the agency deconstruct Title 42. Title 42 allows for the rapid expulsion of migrants under the guise of sanitary protections during the pandemic. Title 42 is a Trump-era holdover policy that is still in effect under the Biden administration. Hopefully, the implementation of this new rule, structures and rules put into place like Title 42 working to slow the migration of immigrants, will slowly and efficiently abolish the old structure that rejects a world of migrants and quicken the new one that accepts all those seeking shelter and a home in a safe place.
If you or a family member is currently working alongside Mil Mujeres to seek asylum and you have questions about how this new policy may affect you during your application process, please do not hesitate to contact Mil Mujeres at (202) 808-3311 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have.