Biden speeds up asylum process for migrants headed to NYC, LA, Chicago

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The Biden administration is accelerating the asylum timeline for migrants who enter the US illegally en route to five major cities.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday that a new Recent Arrivals (RA) Docket will swiftly place single adults before immigration judges in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City.

Those asylum claims must be resolved within 180 days, though grace periods would be granted in some circumstances for migrants to obtain the necessary legal representation.

The Biden administration is speeding up the asylum process for migrants who cross between ports of entry on the border and are headed to five major US cities, according to a Thursday announcement. Getty Images

More than 3 million asylum cases were being considered in the US as of December, and many have to wait years before their claims are resolved.

As of May of last year, migrants crossing into Texas from Mexico were handed paperwork that put their court dates in Chicago as far in the future as 2032.

Immigration has become a top issue for US voters ahead of the 2024 election, with many surveys showing it as a weak point for Biden, 81, in his expected faceoff with former President Donald Trump, 77.

Had the Senate passed a bipartisan border bill in February, a provision similar to the RA Docket would have forced asylum claims nationwide to be adjudicated within the same six-month period.

A new Recent Arrivals (RA) Docket for asylum seekers will swiftly place single adult migrants before immigration judges in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City. Michael Nagle
In a 2019 interview on MSNBC, former President Barack Obama’s ex-Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said just 1,000 illegal border crossings per day “overwhelms the system.” James Breeden for New York Post

“This administrative step is no substitute for the sweeping and much-needed changes that the bipartisan Senate bill would deliver, but in the absence of Congressional action we will do what we can to most effectively enforce the law and discourage irregular migration,” Mayorkas said in a statement.

House Republicans, who impeached Mayorkas in February, have repeatedly pressured Biden to bring back Trump-era policies such as Remain in Mexico, which forced asylum seekers to await their immigration court dates south of the border.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced this week that his chamber would take the legislation back up — only to be called out immediately by the chief Republican negotiator on the bill, Sen. James Lankford.

“Senator Schumer made this statement, ‘It’s a win if the Republicans abandon us at the last minute, because if Democrats put together a tough bipartisan bill on the border, it would not take the border away as an issue for the Republicans, but it would at least give us a 50-50 chance to combat it,’” Lankford (R-Okla.) said in a floor speech Thursday, calling the effort a “political stunt.”

Of those encountered by border agents, over 85% are subsequently released into the US to await their immigration court hearing, Mayorkas admitted in a closed-door meeting with Border Patrol earlier this year. Michael Nagle
House Republicans, who impeached Mayorkas in February, have repeatedly pressured Biden to bring back Trump-era policies such as Remain in Mexico, which forced asylum seekers to await their immigration court dates south of the border. Jack Gruber-USA TODAY

“All the American people see it, everybody sees this is political, but everyone in the country also says ‘Why don’t you guys and ladies fix this instead? Why don’t you actually resolve it?’” he exclaimed, saying Democrats and Republicans should return to the negotiating table.

More than 1.7 million migrant “gotaways” have illegally crossed into America since President Biden took office, new Border Patrol data shows, in addition to the more than 9 million who have entered the US over the same period.

Those numbers have shattered the all-time record for border crossings every year of Biden’s tenure.

Of those apprehended by border agents, over 85% are subsequently released into the US to await their immigration court hearing, Mayorkas admitted in a closed-door meeting with Border Patrol personnel earlier this year.

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