Americans are drafting legislation to modernize the asylum system.

By Ted Hesson; Edited by News Gate Team

Migrants, mostly Venezuelans, participate in a caravan, with the intention of turning in themselves to U.S. Border Patrol agents, on the banks of the Rio Bravo river in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico February 8, 2023.
REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

D.C., February 9 (Reuters) – According to two U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials, President Joe Biden’s administration is working on a comprehensive measure that would overhaul the nation’s asylum system to expedite the resolution of claims in sizable processing facilities near the border with Mexico.

The initiative was born out of ongoing Biden administration conversations to reinvent asylum in light of record-high border crossings and heavy backlogs in immigration courts, according to the two people, who asked for anonymity to disclose private discussions. In order to inspect the systems there, U.S. officials visited Europe last month, making a trip in the Netherlands, they claimed.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has strengthened his stance on border security and has introduced additional immigration regulations. Biden is set to run for reelection in 2024.

Democratic incumbent Joe Biden, who is anticipated to run for reelection in 2024, has tightened his stance on border security and introduced additional immigration policies recently as Republicans have stepped up their criticism of the issue since seizing control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Different procedures for asylum seekers based on nationality may also be included in the legislation, which is still in the conceptual stage, with migrants from nations with generally higher approval rates being given more freedom of movement while they wait for the outcome of their cases, according to the sources.

The two officials indicated that those with better chances might be kept in apartments or other less repressive locations instead of a prison facility. Immigrants who are thought to have a lower chance of being granted asylum may be processed fast. For instance, according to official data, 53% of Chinese asylum claimants in immigration court won their cases whereas only 8% of Hondurans did in the 2022 fiscal year.

One of the DHS officials stated, “It’s a complete rethink of the strategy and is not bound by present legislation.”

The sources emphasized that the measure was still under construction and that before it was finalized, certain features might alter. According to one of the DHS officials and another person with knowledge of the situation, Blas Nunez-Neto, a senior DHS policy official, is one of the individuals driving the legislative push.

Marsha Espinosa, a DHS official, minimized the debates over asylum legislation.

She stated that while DHS is constantly looking for ways to enhance our asylum process, no idea is currently receiving serious consideration.

Espinosa asserted that despite the bill’s lack of progress, the administration is still dedicated to passing the immigration reform proposal Biden sent to Congress soon after assuming office in 2021.

It’s unknown when future asylum legislation might be passed or whether Democrats or Republicans in Congress will support it.

Creating an asylum system that is “fair, quick, and operational” is the aim of the initiative, according to another DHS officer who was closely involved in the planning.

The official acknowledged the difficulties of passing legislation in a divided Congress and emphasized that the measure might ultimately be overturned by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas or the White House.

“This is still in its very early stages, and people may look at it and decide not to do it,” said the author.

“This is still in its very early stages, and people may look at it and decide not to do it,” said the author.

Another source familiar with the initiative suggested that the proposed Biden asylum measure would also include a provision mandating that travelers seek refuge in the nations they pass through if other countries offer better safeguards.

The plan has drawn criticism from immigrant rights activists who claim it is akin to “transit bans” that were put forth during the Republican government of then-President Donald Trump. Rapid processing of asylum petitions has also drawn criticism from advocates, who fear that it could unfairly result in the expulsion of individuals with legitimate claims.

There were far fewer persons detained illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border after Biden announced tougher border measures in January along with legal avenues for some migrants.

The new Biden limits, which are based on a COVID-19 directive known as Title 42, let American authorities to send migrants from Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua to Mexico without giving them the opportunity to apply for asylum in the United States. Prior to that, Mexico had generally accepted the repatriation of its own citizens, as well as some Central Americans and, more recently, Venezuelans.

The Title 42 order is currently being contested in court, thus it is unclear if it will continue to be in effect even if the COVID public health emergency is declared over on May 11 as scheduled.

The Biden administration has stated that it aims to repeal Title 42 and replace it with an established accelerated removal procedure. Since last year, U.S. authorities have urged Mexico to accept non-Mexicans through expedited removal once Title 42 expires, according to two U.S. officials who spoke to Reuters.

Senior Mexican foreign ministry official Roberto Velasco visited Washington this week to talk about a variety of topics that affect both countries. In a statement, he claimed that “there are ongoing conversations” regarding immigration law and that no decisions for the following steps had been taken.

By Ted Hesson; Edited by News Gate Team

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