Asylum officers and the backlog: a time line

Pre-Biden: Immigration courts encounter immense backlogs, in part due to failure of Obama and Trump administrations to obtain from Congress funding for additional judges. Ge here.

August 2021: The Biden administration says it wants to assign to asylum officers authority to interview and decide on asylum cases, rather than depend entirely on immigration courts.  It aims to hire an additional 1,000 asylum officers and another 1,000 support staff, a senior DHS official told Reuters ahead of the announcement. The hiring spree would more than double the current crop of about 800 asylum officers and could be funded either by Congress or immigration application fee increases. (Reuters),

December 2021: Asylum court case backlog reaches 54 months

March 24, 2022DHS issues rule.

Per the NY Times, Under the new policy, which the administration released on Thursday as an interim final rule, some migrants seeking asylum will have their claims heard and evaluated by asylum officers instead of immigration judges. The goal, administration officials said, is for the entire process to take six months, compared with a current average of about five years. The plan is to release many asylum seekers through a parole status while they go through the process, which critics say will draw even more hopeful migrants to the border. (Go here.)

April 2022: Texas AG Paxton sues to prohibit the use of asylum officers for credible threat interviews.

June 2022: DHS begins to refer approximately a few hundred noncitizens each month to USCIS for an Asylum Merits Interview (AMI) following a positive credible fear determination. (Go here.)

Want to become an asylum officer? Go here.


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