The United States will change asylum procedures and will also admit 100,000 refugees from Ukraine
This week, the Biden Administration issued a new rule that will allow asylum officers at the US-Mexico border to adjudicate requests for protection from deportation made by immigrants who fear persecution in their home country. The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) explained that this rule was part of an effort to shorten the time between the arrival of a non-citizen at the border and the decision on whether that person will be able to remain in the United States.
This new policy would constitute a dramatic change in how asylum claims are adjudicated. Currently, the vast majority of cases are processed by immigration judges in court. Under the new rule, if an asylum officer grants protections to an immigrant, the immigrant can remain in the U.S. However, if an immigrant is found ineligible for asylum, the case will go to an immigration judge. for further review, but the case must be decided within 90 days.
When the rule was first proposed in August of last year, many immigration advocates expressed reservations, particularly concerned about rushing immigrants with their asylum claims and denying them due process. Eleanor Acer, senior director of Human Rights First, an international human rights organization, said the new rule “risks sacrificing accurate decision-making for its speed narrative” and that imposing “unrealistic deadlines will lead to the wrong decisions.” , additional adjudication to correct those errors and the wrongful return to persecution of people who qualify for asylum.”
DHS claims the purpose of the rule is to alleviate a severely backlogged immigration court system, which has more than 1 million pending cases nationwide. DHS will need to hire significantly more asylum officers in order to effectively carry out this rule.
At the same time, Congress will also add additional judges to address the backlog. In an act championed by Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar, Congress approved funding in a new bill that includes the authorization of 100 new immigration judges and support staff. In a statement, Congressman Cuellar stated that “by employing more immigration judges, we can properly adjudicate individuals and families entering our country, turning our influx of immigrants into an opportunity rather than a crisis.”
Meanwhile, President Biden has also announced that the United States will admit up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees in response to the war and humanitarian crisis that has devastated Ukraine. This would likely be accomplished outside of an immigration court or asylum officer review, but through a visa or refugee admissions program.
The NM Immigration Blog will continue to follow the implementation of the new asylum review process, as well as how the United States provides ongoing support to Ukrainians fleeing violence.
US Congress Considers Adding High-Skilled Worker Visa
On Wednesday, the US Senate voted to promote a bill that would provide funding to help boost American scientific research and manufacturing to help the US compete with other world powers. The Senate will not consider House proposals that would add or speed up thousands of visa applications in highly skilled positions. Specifically, the legislation would create a new category for entrepreneurs, as well as allow exemptions to annual green card limits for foreign nationals with Ph.Ds in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Both Democrats and Republicans recently voiced support for increasing the number of visas for highly-skilled workers, improving the chances of them becoming law.
©2022 Norris McLaughlin PA, All Rights ReservedNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 85