Biden Administration Proposes Changes to Asylum Policy Including Sending Immigrants Seeking Asylum to 5 Cities and Expedited Deportations

Biden Administration Proposes Changes to Asylum Policy Including Sending Immigrants Seeking Asylum to 5 Cities and Expedited Deportations

Officials in the Biden administration announced new rules to reduce and process more quickly the caseload of immigrants.

Originally Published in Spanish in El Vocero Hispano on
May 31, 2024

Officials in the Biden administration including Attorney General Merrick Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced last week at a press conference new rules as part of the White House's efforts to supposedly reduce and process more quickly the caseload of immigrants arriving at the southern border, especially for asylum seekers.

Under the new rules, asylum seekers who are single adults apprehended at the border and released because federal agents determine they have probable cause for asylum or pass a credible fear interview will be sent to five cities to face their immigration hearings within 180 days. In addition, cases that are dismissed at the border will face expedited removal proceedings.

The 5 cities where the cases will be sent will be: New York, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta and Los Angeles, under the new process they will designate certain immigration judges to issue faster decisions within 180 days although there could be exceptions in certain circumstances where they can take longer which will also give more time for immigrants seeking asylum to seek legal representation.

This new rule would also allow the Department of Homeland Security to quickly remove individuals subject to certain prohibitions such as having been a member of a terrorist group or criminal gang.

This proposal was sent last week to the Federal Register, the government's official journal, to be published and open for public comment for a 30-day period, after which the government drafts the final regulation taking into account comments received from the public.

Pro-immigrant groups including the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) are planning to challenge these changes that jeopardize the rights of immigrant asylum seekers, and we may be able to stop the initiation of these new rules.

Unfortunately the situation for immigrants seeking asylum is getting more and more difficult.


According to a report by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse  (TRAC) at Syracuse University in New York, immigration cases across the United States continue to increase. According to the study released a few days ago the number of pending cases is almost 3.6 million, a record number that increased by 1,300 new cases just since October 1 of last year, meanwhile judges have been trying to resolve cases as quickly as possible, but only completed a little more than 1/2 million during this time and as more and more cases enter the immigration courts.

Another part of the study indicated interesting figures about the people who received deportation orders, 86% did not have the representation of an immigration attorney, meaning that it is very difficult to win their case without the assistance of an attorney. In other states where there is a higher percentage of cases with the assistance of attorneys, people were more likely to win their cases whether it was asylum or other types of cases. In Michigan, of the 22,000 pending cases, only 3 percent, just over 7,000, have attorneys, while California, which has more cases than any other state with 348,000 pending cases, just under half have attorneys. 

It is evident that the process of defending yourself and the chances of winning the trial or gaining time before being deported, in the immigration courts, will be much better with the assistance of an attorney, that is why it is important that if you or a relative has an immigration court that you speak with an immigration attorney.

In my office we are more than willing to help you and represent you in your cases. It is also important to have an experienced attorney represent you, there are many attorneys, but not all of them have experience in immigration deportation courts. 

It is also important that we continue to insist that they pass some kind of legalization or amnesty for the thousands of people who have been in the US for more than 10 years, many with children and grandchildren born here so that they have the opportunity to stay in the United States.