Biden Administration to Accelerate Court Cases for Certain Illegal Immigrants

Immigration judges in five U.S. cities will be tasked to render a final decision on the cases of these illegal immigrants within 180 days.
Biden Administration to Accelerate Court Cases for Certain Illegal Immigrants
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee hearing on the department's budget request on Capitol Hill in Washington on April 18, 2024. (Andrew Harnik/Getty Images)
T.J. Muscaro

The Biden administration on May 16 announced plans to accelerate court cases for asylum seekers crossing the southern border in an effort to address the issue of rising illegal immigration ahead of the November election.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick Garland released a new Recent Arrivals Docket process to expedite the resolution of immigration cases for certain illegal immigrants who are single adults caught crossing the border with Mexico.

Under the new policy, immigration judges in five U.S. cities will be tasked to render a final decision on the cases of these illegal immigrants within 180 days. Those cities are Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City.

“Today, we are instituting with the Department of Justice a process to accelerate asylum proceedings so that individuals who do not qualify for relief can be removed more quickly and those who do qualify can achieve protection sooner,” said Mr. Mayorkas.

The Justice Department also submitted a new rule to the Federal Register called Efficient Case and Docket Management in Immigration Proceedings. This will permit immigration adjudicators to act “efficiently” and prioritize the cases that can be “promptly” resolved.

In its announcement, the Justice Department notes the current immigration system is “overwhelmed,” causing illegal immigrants to wait years to get their case resolved. It also blamed the length of court proceedings on “insufficient recourses, including insufficient immigration judges and attorneys.”

“The Justice Department’s immigration courts are committed to the just and efficient enforcement of the immigration laws,” said Attorney General Garland. “These measures will advance that mission by helping to ensure that immigration cases are adjudicated promptly and fairly.”

U.S. immigration courts were facing a backlog of more than 3.5 million cases by mid-April, with 1.2 million related to asylum applications, according to immigration data tracked by Syracuse University.

This new change to the asylum process comes one week after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) proposed a rule change that would allow an asylum officer to consider refusing an illegal immigrant’s request for asylum during the initial screening process that occurs days after that person is first encountered.

The DHS and Justice Department also took the opportunity to once again criticize Congress for its refusal to pass the Senate’s Bipartisan Border Security legislation, stating it would provide them with the resources they need, like more immigration judges and asylum officers, to fix the immigration system.

“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,” said Mr. Mayorkas.

Republicans in Washington, meanwhile, continue to blame President Joe Biden for the border crisis by eliminating all of President Donald Trump’s executive actions starting on day one, including the “Remain in Mexico” policy for asylum seekers. They also criticize him for failing to take executive action to resolve the crisis.

“If the president wanted to actually secure the border and close it, sure he could,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) told The Epoch Times on May 9.

“He could, but he won’t because he does not want to. I mean, he would lose support from those in his base who want the border open on principle.”

Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, T.J. Muscaro covers the Sunshine State, America's space industry, the theme park industry, and family-related issues.