Criminal JusticeFederalImmigration & BorderIssuesTaxes & SpendingBiden Administration Aims to Reduce Asylum Case Backlog, Spend More on Lawyers for Asylum Seekers

Illegal crossings remain at extraordinary levels and the feds say they are making “considerable progress” on their immigration objectives.
July 30, 2021
Enforcement encounters with illegal aliens are at a 21-year high, local authorities in South Texas are concerned about increased COVID-19 infections as a result of illegal immigration, and the federal government is facing a slew of lawsuits from Texas officials over the illegal immigration crisis.

Meanwhile, the White House asserted in a fact sheet this week that “the Administration has made considerable progress to build a fair, orderly, and humane immigration system” and urged Congress to act on immigration reform. The comments echoed similar statements by Vice President Kamala Harris during her visit to the El Paso area in June.

The Biden administration outlined a plan to expedite asylum claims to be resolved with either deportation or admission.

“Those not seeking protection or who don’t qualify will be promptly removed to their countries of origin,” the administration stated.

The current administration says it is set on “bolstering public messaging on migration by ensuring consistent messages to discourage irregular migration and promote safe, legal, and orderly migration.”

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The White House is seeking to increase the “efficiency and fairness of the U.S. asylum system” and make it more consistent with “international standards.” Asylum officers will be given the authority to make decisions on asylum claims without a judge’s ruling. Hoping to reduce the case backlog in immigration courts, the Biden administration is also asking for 100 new immigration judges in its Fiscal Year 2022 budget proposal.

The president’s proposed budget includes a $15 million request for legal representation for “families and vulnerable individuals” as well as a $23 million request for legal orientation programs provided by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). Legal orientation programs are crash courses on immigration law given by personnel from nonprofit organizations “to large groups of detained individuals,” according to the DOJ.

Referring to the “cruel and reckless immigration policies” of former President Trump, the fact sheet asserted that there have been fewer “unique encounters” with illegal aliens so far this fiscal year than during Fiscal Year 2019.

Nonetheless, United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported that there were almost 189,000 enforcement encounters in June. In other words, many of the same people are attempting multiple times to breach the border.

The fact sheet also stated that 12,500 individuals who were sent back to Mexico under the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols have been “successfully processed.” Biden’s team announced in February that the protocols, referred to as the “remain in Mexico” policy, would be rescinded.

In April, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit against the feds to reinstate the remain in Mexico policy. The suit is currently pending before Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk in the Amarillo Division of the federal district court system.

The majority of individuals who are crossing the border illegally are single adult men. The Texas Department of Public Safety has reported more than 2,000 arrests of illegal aliens for criminal violations since the beginning of Operation Lone Star, a border security effort Governor Greg Abbott launched in March.

According to the White House, there were 570 unaccompanied children in the custody of CBP on June 14. This is compared to 5,676 unaccompanied minors being housed by CBP in late March.


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Hayden Sparks

Hayden Sparks is a senior reporter for The Texan and a lifelong resident of the Lone Star State. He has coached competitive speech and debate and has been involved in politics since a young age. One of Hayden's favorite quotes is by Sam Houston: "Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may."