DOJ and DHS Propose New Rule to Improve Asylum Process

In a new proposed rule issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Biden Administration has announced that it will be looking to change the procedure for adjudicating asylum claims. This new rule would, in theory, make it much easier for asylum applicants to receive legal immigration status, speeding up their cases within the immigration system. It would also grant parole to asylum applicants much more often, allowing them to live legally in the United States outside of a detention facility.

What is This New Proposed Rule?

The new proposed rule, if accepted, would significantly alter the process for granting asylum. Right now, anyone who wants to obtain asylum must first present themselves at a port of entry, where they will be interviewed by an officer working for United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS). During the interview, the asylum officer determines if the applicant has a credible fear of persecution if they return to their country of origin. If the officer determines they do, their case is then referred to an administrative judge for a full hearing.

Under the proposed rule, asylum officers would instead be able to make the determination of granting asylum, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture. A case would only go up to an immigration judge if the initial application for asylum is denied, at which point an applicant could appeal their case to the judge. In effect, this would cut out an entire step in the asylum application process, significantly cutting the caseload for immigration judges.

Why Has This Rule Been Proposed?

The new rule was proposed to deal with a substantial backlog currently flooding the immigration courts. Right now, asylum cases are backed up by months or years, because every application must be heard by an immigration judge. Unfortunately, there are not nearly enough judges to handle the large number of cases, creating delays and making it much harder for applicants to get the immigration protection they deserve. By granting asylum officers the ability to grant asylum at the initial interview, they can shorten this process significantly, reducing both the wait time and the caseload of immigration court judges.

In addition, they have been given more latitude to grant parole, which the new rule says can be granted when “detention is unavailable or impracticable.” This is in addition to existing exceptions for medical emergencies and assisting law enforcement objectives. This means less time for asylees waiting in detention centers, and more time enjoying the benefits of their new immigration status.

For more than forty years, the Drucker Law Firm has been providing personal and quality legal services to individuals, universities, and corporations throughout the New York City and Tri-State area. We have represented three generations of clients in immigration and nationality matters, as well as personal injury, family law, criminal law, and general litigation matters. If you have a legal issue related to immigration law, please give us a call at (718) 458-1489 to schedule a consultation or visit our contact page.

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