NumbersUSA has filed the following official comment with the Department of Homeland Security about its proposed new rule that would allow frontline officers -- instead of immigration supervisors and judges -- to serve as the judge and jury for people claiming asylum at the border.
Our view is that the purpose of the rule is to make it faster and easier for anybody claiming asylum to be allowed into the country and given work permits without testing whether they really have a claim for asylum.
The rule would create the worst-case situation for American workers who have to compete with the people allowed across the border. If the frontline officers grant passage, there is no appeal by the public to review the case and protect American workers from fraudulent asylum claims. But if the frontline officers rule against passage, those applicants CAN appeal the decision. The proposed rule is designed to move as many foreign workers as possible into the U.S. labor markets as quickly as possible.
You can read our original analysis of the proposed rule by clicking here.
NumbersUSA's Official Comment on DHS Asylum Rule
The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have released a rule designed to remove safety and integrity measures within the asylum and other immigration benefit programs in support of expediency with no consideration or concern for public health and safety. While it is a positive development that the government acknowledges explicitly within this rule that they are overwhelmed by the border crisis they have created, their proposed solution is dangerous to Americans and counterproductive even to their stated goal of expediting the process. Delegating asylum decisions to low level staff with minimal legal training cuts out the adversarial process, enhanced vetting, and judicial review.
First, making it faster and easier to obtain immigration benefits in the United States will encourage more migration to our border, not less. They are coming because they want to stay and this regulation makes the prospect of staying upon arrival more likely. Asylum officers are already misapplying the credible fear standard, leading to immigration judges denying 71.6% of referred asylum cases in the most recent fiscal year. Giving asylum officers the power to approve an asylum application would not only result in a significant increase in cases of asylum being granted where it isn’t warranted, it would make asylum officers some of the most powerful and unchecked government employees in the immigration system. This would further tempt economic migrants to risk a dangerous journey with the hope of exploiting a poorly conceived process in order to live and work in the U.S. without following the normal immigration process. Rather than relying on the tried and true methods of expedited removal to ease the burden on the border, both operationally and by deterring future migration, this rule establishes expedited approval of asylum claims which increases the overall operational burden on DHS and encourages more migration.
Second, this regulation delegates approvals of asylum and other benefits to low level staff, but any aliens denied asylum by staff are still allowed to appeal to an immigration judge. Since most claims for asylum are ultimately denied, that means this regulation will not achieve its stated goal of reducing the burden on courts and quickening decisions for applicants, unless asylum officers are abusing their authority and granting meritless cases. Otherwise, only those approved will have an expedited decision. The rest will still flood the courts which already have a 610,000 backlog (and counting) of asylum claims. Unless the Biden Administration intends or expects asylum officers to begin unlawfully rubber-stamping approvals, then this regulation just adds more bureaucratic steps to an already overwhelmed agency while encouraging more migrants to come and escalate the border crisis.
Finally, this practice doubles-down on the illegal behavior of ignoring the statutory requirement that individuals be detained pending their proceedings. Catch and release has already been a major driver of illegal immigration. The rule calls for taking it a step further and granting parole when “detention is unavailable or impracticable,” which is already the inevitable consequence of this rule. DHS has acknowledged for months that it is overwhelmed. Handing out immigration benefits in a more simple, expedited manner will only exacerbate the border crisis. Granting parole in this case is in direct violation of the law, which allows for parole only for “urgent humanitarian reasons” or “significant public benefit” neither of which include easing the operational burden of DHS in detaining aliens as required by law.
Updated: Fri, Sep 17th 2021 @ 1:25pm EDT