National Security

Texas challenges Biden rule to speed processing of asylum claims

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Texas on Thursday challenged a Biden administration plan that seeks to address a backlog in reviewing asylum claims, streamlining the process for those fleeing persecution and violence.

The suit attacks an interim final rule promulgated by the Department of Homeland Security in March that would  allow U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services employees to review such claims.

Under the new rule, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expects asylum processes will take several months on average, rather than several years.

Currently asylum claims are weighed only by the nation’s roughly 500 immigration court judges, who face a years-long backlog of cases that have surged past 1.7 million cases.

The Texas suit challenges the rule by claiming it violated the Administrative Procedures Act. 

“The Interim Rule transfers significant authority from immigration judges to asylum officers, grants those asylum officers significant additional authority, limits immigration-judge review to denials of applications, and upends the entire adjudicatory system to the benefit of aliens,” Texas writes in its suit.

Though asylum is a legal process, a statement from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the new rule would “make it easier for illegal aliens to enter the U.S. and obtain asylum through false claims and less oversight.”

“It’s true that our immigration system is extremely backlogged. But the answer is to secure the border, not overwhelm it even more by enacting cheap, easy incentives for illegal aliens to get into the United States,” Paxton said.

The administration, however, couched the rule as a way to more rapidly sort who does and doesn’t qualify for such protections.

“Through this rule, we are building 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. We will process claims for asylum or other humanitarian protection in a timely and efficient manner while ensuring due process,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement at the time.

Tags asylum seekers Biden DHS Ken Paxton Mayorkas Texas

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